Journal of Professional Nursing

Speaking up: The voice of New Zealand nursing

Te tū ki te kōrero: Te reo o te mahi tapuhi i Aotearoa

Helen Rook, RN, PhD, Lecturer, Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ.

Reference:  Rook, H. (2018). Editorial. Speaking up: The voice of New Zealand nursing. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 34(2),4-5. 

pdf Editorial July 2018.pdf (0.13MB)


The Greek pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus, who lived 500 BC, is noted for saying that all things are in flux and nothing is as constant as change; nowhere is this more evident than in modern health care. In the November 2017 Praxis editorial I wrote about the voice of New Zealand nurses often being mute and muffled. Over the past couple of months there has been a change, an increased vocalisation by nurses of the challenges that they face in their daily practice. Nowhere is this more evident than on social media, particularly the public Facebook page of New Zealand hear our voices.  The posts on the Facebook page share nurses’ distress along with the frustration that they feel. The frustration that they are not valued, not respected and that they are not financially rewarded to a comparable level with others in the public sector or that reflects their level of academic preparation.  I am left wondering about the voice that has risen and the ground swell of support it has received. What has ignited it and what would it take for it be harnessed? Certainly the global focus on speaking up has helped the impetus of the current vocalisation. Campaigns like #metoo and #nursingnow and indeed the overwhelming calls for equity for women in the workforce have helped. So too have industrial relations negotiations and perhaps even the change of New Zealand Government and its mandate of equality and social justice. All of these factors, connected or not, have created a climate where nurses are finding their voice. Using this voice is empowering nurses to speak up.