Nurses all around the world, including Whanganui, will this year celebrate the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.
The Whanganui District Health Board (DHB) will participate in several activities throughout the year to highlight the work done by those working within the health sector.
"We are working with Whanganui DHB archivist Ailsa Stewart to profile international, national and local nurses who have contributed significantly to the field and have been influential in health care over the last 150 years," a Whanganui DHB spokeswoman said.
She said the organisation was also looking into a recognition programme for local nurses and midwives working at the DHB.
The year also celebrates the global Nursing Now campaign, aiming to raise the status and profile of nursing.
The Ministry of Health's chief nursing officer Margareth Broodkoorn said it was important to use the celebrations to profile the value of nurses and promote the profession as a great career opportunity.
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She said global indications showed a decline of 18 million in the health workforce by 2030, which indicated that over the next 12 years 2000 more nurses a day would be needed across the world.
"It's been a huge couple of years for nursing in New Zealand, with the signing of the Nursing Accord, immediate relief funding for nursing FTE, more resources in this year's budget for new graduate nurses, rolling out registered nurse prescribing to more areas and amending legislation enabling nurse practitioners to perform certain functions previously only doctors could," Broodkoorn said.
The Whanganui DHB spokeswoman said the organisation's nursing workforce had increased over the past five years.
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"The turnover of nursing staff is relatively low in Whanganui compared to other DHBs," she said.
Sue Ireland, acting executive dean of health and sciences at UCOL Whanganui, said nursing student numbers had been stable in recent years.
She said reasons students were interested in enrolling for nursing in Whanganui included wanting to care for people, wanting to be the first in their family to succeed and not having to travel out of town for qualifications.
"Studying in Whanganui is easier for those with families to study and achieve their dream of becoming a nurse," Ireland said.
"There have been some incredible students over the years who have had large families and huge commitments but have made the decision that nursing was their goal and have succeeded."
Broodkoorn said the aim of the Year of the Nurse and Midwife was to see more nurses in leadership and for people to have a greater understanding of the integral part nurses play in New Zealand's health care.