"I wouldn't recommend anybody at the moment to come into nursing."
This is the feeling of a Whākatane nurse who after 42 years of working is now seriously considering retirement because she feels "undervalued".
It comes after tens of thousands of nurses from across the country are set to walk off the job for eight hours on June 9, following a breakdown in pay negotiations between the nurses union and district health boards.
For Cheryl Hammond, it's more about making the profession attractive than it is about pay. She voted to strike out of fear that, as experienced nurses opt to retire, patient care will be compromised.
The nature of the current workforce meant nurses were leaving in droves to work overseas, leaving a limited supply in New Zealand to work under "increasing demands".
"We need decent pay, but we need more staff.
"A lot of our nurses don't have time to even go to the toilet during their shift or they don't have the time to take a patient to the toilet when they request it, because they're busy doing something else.
"We want to be able to care and continue to provide that quality care for our patients. That's what it's about."
Beginning her career while learning on-site, Hammond said she had always been passionate about the vocation but had watched as her colleagues burned out.
"We're tired, worn-out. Every day, there's more and more work and it never ends. It's increased horrendously over the years but you're expected to do the same work with less staff because we can't fill the post."
Hammond said it was her second time striking in her 42 years of working.
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) issued the strike notices to the country's district health boards after its 30,000 DHB members voted "overwhelmingly" in favour of an eight-hour strike on June 9.
Lead advocate and NZNO industrial adviser David Wait says the decision to strike came after a frustrating offer from the DHBs last month.
"That would have given most members little more than 1.38 per cent, just under the rate of inflation. This is despite the incredible sacrifices they made in 2020 to keep the country safe from Covid-19."
However, he said members were absolutely furious at the Government's wage restraint announcement, which Wait believed effectively froze wages for three years when most had already progressed to the last step of their pay scale.
"This will turn what is already a serious staffing crisis into a disaster for the health system and the levels of care available for ourselves and our loved ones."
Those working in Managed Isolation and Quarantine will not participate in the strike but those working to roll out the Covid vaccine will.
Wait said despite the ample notice, the NZNO would respond in good faith to DHB requests for members to assist by providing "life-preserving" services, in the interests of patient safety.
No strike notices had yet been issued following mediation days this week but in the event of strike notices, DHBs have planning and contingency systems to ensure the safety of patients.
DHB spokeswoman Dale Oliff believed the offer is fair and reasonable.
No further comment would be made at this time.