They care for patients like no other clinical staff; they work tirelessly day and night and they are the backbone of any hospital and health practice: nurses.
Today marks International Nurses Day, and with pandemic-heightened anxiety, stress and despair behind us, it offers a moment to think of the workforce that continues to deliver health services in the community.
The Northland District Health Board alone employs 1500 nurses and 400 healthcare assistants who support the delivery of nursing care. These numbers don't include nurses who work in other clinics and health providers across the region.
Nurses Dee and her daughter Sian Telfer are at the Whangārei Hospital and will tell everyone there is no better job than being a nurse.
Dee Telfer, now operations manager for cancer and blood services and lead for Faster Cancer Treatment and radiation oncology, was first told by her mum at the age of eight that she would be a good nurse because she likes "yakking to anyone and everyone".
Her career path was set after her dad died of a preventable illness when Dee was 12.
"We cared for him at home as he was too scared to go to hospital as he believed that was where you go to die. He was 50 years old."
Dee studied at what was then the Northland Polytechnic, graduating in December 1988.
"I think we were the fourth intake from transitioning hospital-trained nurses to comprehensive-trained nurses – Smurfs, as we were called back then."
Since then, Dee watched her profession change with improving technology and science as well as a cultural shift brought on by Millennials and Gen Z.
While more disciplined and working within clear expectations of their role, Dee also described her generation as one with "too many rigid, inflexible and hierarchical intolerance structures.
"It's a new ball game, and we oldies are now the audience. This is not a bad thing, but one we need to understand and adapt to as these nurses come through, because they will be looking after us. It's in our best interest to get on the bus and embrace it," she said.
"What's going on around the world with the Covid-19 pandemic and pay equity has brought the importance of nurses to the forefront. We need to get into their heads, hear their voice and make some changes."
Despite its challenges, Dee wholeheartedly encourages others to consider nursing.
"[It's] the only career path you will hear me bragging about."
The uncontested highlight of Dee's nursing career was standing on stage as the acting director of nursing at her daughter's graduation watching Sian receive her graduation certificate.
"It was the beginning of Covid-19, and we weren't allowed to touch, hug or anything, but I was chomping at the bit to jump out and hug her.
"I had tears having a daughter follow in my steps and join the best profession there is in nursing."
Today, Sian Telfer is a nurse in the paediatric ward – "simply the best ward", she says.
"My mum influenced my decision to be a nurse. Growing up watching her being so dedicated to her job, telling us how much she enjoyed going to work, and the friendships she had made, made me want to have that as well.
"She is a hard worker and is well respected throughout the whole hospital, so I hope I can be half the nurse she is one day."
Only three years into her profession, Sian and her junior colleague have already been tested by the pandemic.
"I feel we have all stepped up, adjusted and continued to do our job at a high standard."
Despite being a tough job that isn't paid well, she hoped more people would join the workforce, saying the rewards of caring for patients greatly outweighed the downsides.
"The friendships you make are lifelong, the skills you continuously learn are endless and the smile you see on your patients' faces when you have helped them is priceless.
"I would also love to see more Māori nurses around the hospital. As a Māori nurse myself, it is a privilege when I get to look after our Māori whānau."