A former World Health Organisation (WHO) nurse who has worked through disasters and pandemics hopes New Zealand's response to the pandemic will bring nurses back here to continue their careers.
Dr Frances Hughes now works as the general manager of nursing and clinical strategy at Oceania Healthcare and holds a doctorate in nursing, but has previously worked for WHO and was employed by the Ministry of Health during the Sars epidemic.
She believes the way New Zealand has handled coronavirus reaching our shores may be the boost we need to encourage healthcare professionals to return here, or to convince people to start a career in healthcare.
"I think we have demonstrated amazing leadership."
A crucial part of any disaster or outbreak was ensuring healthcare staff were taken care of, she said.
After Hurricane Sandy hit the US, roughly 2500 nurses "got lost to the system" due to poor management, and ended up not returning to work, she said.
"We've got a wonderful opportunity to really strengthen the healthcare system.
"Yes we've had issues, but the stories I've heard from my colleagues overseas are just dreadful."
She had heard of nurses having to sleep on the floor in the hospital, healthcare workers trying to source face masks from nail salons, and trouble accessing food at work.
"These are not third world countries I'm talking about doing that . . . rich countries and resourced countries don't necessarily do it better."
She hoped New Zealand's example would be a shining light drawing in other nurses who might have been working overseas.
"Yes, other countries can pay more money . . . but also you should be coming to work feeling that things are organised, that people know what they're doing, that people are going to protect you."
She also believed people might be more encouraged to go into healthcare roles.
"I hope more people start to think 'I can't do this job anymore, but maybe I will come into healthcare.'"
The "issues" with New Zealand's response include ongoing complaints around access to PPE gear for workers.
The Public Service Association said at least 128 health workers had been infected with Covid-19 so far, and that thousands of members were working without reliable access to PPE.
"We have repeatedly been promised PPE. Our members have repeatedly been told the DHBs and the Ministry of Health will keep them safe. These promises have repeatedly been broken," said assistant national secretary of the PSA, Melissa Woolley,
"The supply is there. The Prime Minister, the Director-General, the Minister of Health and others have all confirmed this. But because our country lacks an efficient and united health system, and instead has a set of fragmented feuding fiefdoms, the supply is not getting through."