Shortland Street nursing campaign

Publication date: 4 November 2022

On 1 August 2022, the Minister of Health, Hon Andrew Little, in outlining a range of actions being taken to promote nursing recruitment, indicated that Manatū Hauora had been in discussions with the producers of the New Zealand drama programme Shortland St in promoting nursing as a career. 

The mention of Shortland St prompted several Official Information Act (OIA) requests and Written Parliamentary Questions for information about the initiative.   

Given the level of interest, and to provide greater public transparency, Manatū Hauora has decided to proactively release documents and correspondence relating to the Shortland Street campaign. Please note some information has been withheld under the following sections of the OIA: 

  • Section 9(2)(a) – to protect the privacy of natural persons; 
  • Section 9(2)(b)(ii) - to protect information where the making available of the information would be likely unreasonably to prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied or who is the subject of the information; and 
  • Section 9(2)(i) - to enable a Minister of the Crown or any public service agency or organisation holding the information to carry out, without prejudice or disadvantage, commercial activities. 

Nurses are the largest registered health practitioner workforce in New Zealand. However, more nurses in all three areas (Enrolled Nurses, Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners) are required in order to improve health outcomes for New Zealanders. The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) and Manatū Hauora – Ministry of Health have partnered on the campaign to recruit young people into nursing careers and attract registered nurses back into the profession. The entire campaign cost about $700,000 and the Shortland St storyline component is part of that.   

The Nursing Campaign is expected to increase numbers of people choosing nursing as a career, increase numbers of nurses to return to practice after a period away from the nursing workforce, increase the diversity of the workforce, educate on the opportunity and specialisation that nursing offers, and to challenge stereotypes. The target audience for this campaign is students (particularly Māori and Pacific), school leavers, and nurses interested in returning to practice. Manatū Hauora has commissioned Curative advertising agency to undertake further development of the Nursing Campaign following prior work commissioned by the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO). A cross sector nursing group that includes Manatū Hauora, NZNO, DHB leadership, Aged Residential Care nursing leadership and education providers will provide oversight of and advice into the campaign. The campaign is being delivered via a range of components including the Manatū Hauora website, social media and creative content. 

Please note, as part of the health and disability system reforms, some functions that previously sat under Manatū Hauora, including leading the real nurses campaign, have transferred to Te Whatu Ora- Health New Zealand. Te Whatu Ora, Te Aka Whai Ora – The Māori Health Authority, and NZNO continue to work on the realnurses campaign in collaboration with Curative. 

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