NURSES across the Hunter voted in favour of seeking an extension of increasing minimum staffing levels across NSW last week, which would bring them in line with major hospitals in Sydney.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives Association says that nurses at Hunter hospitals treat more patients than those in the state's capital.
NSW Nurses and Midwives Association general secretary Brett Holmes said minimum ratios in Sydney provided a safer clinical and less stressed working environment.
Ratios were introduced in February 2011 and brought in an additional 1580 full-time-equivalent nurses and midwives - close to one nurse for every four patients.
Votes will be tallied across the state.
If a majority is achieved, the nurses union will attempt to have the staffing level in the new award.
The union claim also includes two 2.5 per cent per year pay rises by July 2014.