The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation is calling for urgent talks with the Government ahead of their conference later this month.
They say their sector is in crisis, and that inadequate pay rates are preventing nurses and midwives from taking up vacant posts.
This is despite the fact that yesterday's report from the Public Sector Pay Commission found that pay is not the main issue affecting staff.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, says the issue needs to be addressed urgently.
She said: "The numbers of staff vacancies in the nursing and midwifery profession alone is just over 1,000, and we cannot fill those posts.
"The head of the acute hospital division recently gave evidence to an Oireachtas committee on health stating that for every four vacancies they only have one applicant in the nursing posts.
"That is a huge problem because we are going to need to expand our health service."