The union representing nurses is expected to announce the next move in their fight for more staff and better pay on Friday.
New Zealand Nurses' Organisation industrial services manager Cee Payne appeared on The AM Show on Friday, describing the staffing shortage as "critical".
"We're hearing about the pain that that brings our members every day, the moral distress that they're under trying to deliver safe patient care in our country.
"It's complex, hard work and they need to be valued for that. We need the recognition of the work they do and the pay top retain nurses in this country to tap nurses to this country.
"We've always signalled that we are going to continue to take the ballot for industrial action. The mood of our members is very determined, very strong and very united as people have seen with the rallies around the country.
"It won't be a decision on strike action, but a decision about the ballot and what the ballot will be calling on members to vote for or against."
Watch the video for the full AM Show interview.