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1 NEWS Community: Anonymous Nurse Florence giving Kiwi nurses a voice - 'I've related to most of these stories, felt the pain in their words'

As an agreement between the New Zealand Nurses Organisation and District Health Boards is yet to be reached after thousands walked off the job last week, one Facebook group is providing nurses a place for them to feel supported.

In March two nurses, from either end of the country, anonymously set up the Facebook group New Zealand, please hear our voice, under the pseudonym Nurse Florence.

In just a few days they had over 30,000 members, and now sit at over 46,000 members.

"Florence gave nurses a tool which they had never had before," Nurse Florence told 1 NEWS.

"For many it was a freedom which came in allowing nurses to talk about the issues which, until Florence, were only discussed among colleagues because of fear of personal repercussions."

Sometimes a problem shared is problem halved. - Nurse Florence

The Facebook group is filled with thousands of heart-breaking stories about the job, each a snippet of life as a nurse in New Zealand. But together they tell the sad story of a national problem.

"I've related to most of these stories, felt the pain in their words," said Nurse Florence.

Soon after launching, public support for a national protest rally was overwhelming, and on International Nurses Day, May 12, they took to streets around New Zealand demanding safer staffing, safer wards and better pay to reflect the care they provide.

Nurses at the International Nurses Day #Hearourvoice march.
Nurses at the International Nurses Day #Hearourvoice march. Source: Supplied

"Maybe this has galvanised them, hearing each other's stories and knowing they are not alone.

"Perhaps it was a mixture of this and people feeling they've had enough."

Then, on July 10 it was announced by the NZNO that nurses voted to reject a second offer of a $500m pay package from DHBs which included pay increases, commitments to addressing workforce issues and work towards pay equity.

Following the vote on Thursday July 12 - for the first time in 30 years - thousands walked off the job last week for 24 hours, taking to the streets again in demand for safer staffing and better pay.

Following the strike, Health Minister David Clark has said there is no more money to offer nurses.

But the NZNO and DHBs are back in negotiations to find a way to settle the nurses' collective agreement.

NZNO members have been warned that balloting for further strike action may be needed.

Nurse Florence said they want pay and working conditions that align with Australia, where registered nurses earn an average of AU$31.19 per hour compared to New Zealand registered nurses who earn on average NZ$26.68 per hour.

They said it is important "the public to understand that most healthcare workers genuinely love what they do, but they are struggling to give the public the care we know they deserve, because we’re not getting the care we need."

When an agreement is reached Nurse Florence said they hope the Facebook group continues to be a platform for nurses and healthcare workers to discuss issues, that people might only feel comfortable doing anonymously.

The nurses behind it, say the group gave nurses a freedom to talk about issues they faced without fear of repercussions. Source: 1 NEWS