Students can strike – but not in uniform

August 1, 2021

Nursing schools have reassured students they are entitled to take part in NZNO strikes, as negotiations continue between district health boards (DHBs) and NZNO – as long as they’re not wearing nursing school uniforms.

Acting manager professional and nursing services, Kate Weston, said students had the right to support striking DHB members and wanted to clarify that. “They asked ‘why are we here? We are nurses, we are about the future of our profession’.”

Student co-leader, Te Rūnanga Tauira chair, Kimmel Manning said in 2018 students had been “really unclear” on whether they should be working on clinical placements during strikes. This year, no-one would be working on placements during strike action, he said.

Te Rōpu Kaiako Tapuhi – Nursing Education in the Tertiary Sector (NETS) co-chair Clare Buckley said schools “cannot (and would not) deny students the right to take part in the strikes and show their support for the profession.

“We ask that students do not wear their uniforms, as that would present the position as being the institution’s”.

She confirmed there would be no practicums during strikes, but said students could choose to work and/or volunteer, “and some do”.