Auckland nurse Sela Ikavuka spoke to the Herald about the struggles she battles every day at work and why she voted to reject the District Health Board's revised pay offer.
The 24-year-old said patients were being neglected and readmitted to hospital as a result of understaffing.
"Due to lack of staff, which is a result of years of under-funding, our role has become so task focused that we have no time to sit and talk to the patients."
She said this was important because having the time to listen and speak with patients enabled nurses to pick up the little things that could stop them from coming back to hospital.
"It means we miss putting in interventions that can have a long-standing impact on their lives."
Ikavuka said on paper she works part-time, nine days a fortnight, but in reality she was on deck full-time.
"I work at least 40 hours a week, if I was working full-time it would be far more."
For Ikavuka, getting adequate pay was about more than just having the money to live.
"There are so many flow-on effects from being under-funded."
Ikavuka said the majority of nurses were packing up their lives to move abroad where pay was sufficient and that was putting more strain on the nurses left in New Zealand.
"If nothing changes I too will consider moving overseas."
Today, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation announced that the vote had been made to reject the pay offer and called for urgent mediation.
NZNO chief executive Memo Musa said the strike notices would be issued within the next 48 hours, but they were also urgently seeking mediation to resolve the issue.
"We've had 10 years of underfunding. We've had three years of seeking settlement, which did not resolve issues of safe staffing and underfunding.
"The outcome today is a strong rejection of the DHB MECA offer".