Nurses are to hold talks next week with the HSE and Department of Health to discuss understaffing and overcrowding.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation says it will ask the HSE to present plans for dealing with the winter crisis.
It comes as new figures suggest this month has been the worst August on record for hospital overcrowding.
The INMO's monthly trolley watch shows that 7,911 patients were on chairs or trolleys in the country's hospitals in August, an increase of 2% on last year.
It says 30 children were among those waiting without a bed.
INMO general secretary, Phil Ni Sheaghdha, said: "Even though it was a mild month, patients and staff faced record overcrowding. Nearly 8,000 sick and injured people were forced to wait without a bed.
“The message from the frontline is clear: this all comes down to pay. The HSE simply cannot find enough nurses and midwives to work on these wages.
"It’s no coincidence that Limerick has had such a bad month, as they have over 70 unfilled nursing vacancies.
“Unless nurses and midwives get pay equality with similarly-qualified health professionals, vacancies will remain open and things will only get worse.”