Nurses are expected to vote for strike action when the results of a ballot are revealed this week.
The results will be revealed by the Royal College of Nursing tomorrow and it is understood that nurses will be taking action over pay.
The Department of Health stated it is working with trusts and the wider health and social care (HSC) service to “prepare” for all scenarios expected from the fast approaching winter period.
Nurses across Northern Ireland last went on strike in the months of December 2019 and January 2020.
More than 300,000 nurses could join walkouts. This would affect non-urgent but not emergency care.
The government had appealed to nurses and asked them to “carefully consider” the impact on patients.
The RCN had asked for a rise of 5% above the RPI inflation rate, which currently stands at above 12%.
In England and Wales, NHS staff are being given a 4.75% increase.
The RCN has argued that this year’s below-inflation pay award came after years of significant pressure on nurses’ salaries
The strike could represent the RCN’s first national strike.
In a statement issued yesterday, she said: “Patients are at great risk when there aren’t enough nurses. Huge numbers of staff – both experienced and newer recruits – are deciding they cannot see a future in a nursing profession that is not valued nor treated fairly.
“Our strike action will be as much for patients as it is for nurses – we have their support in doing this. As we begin action, politicians in every part of the UK will be challenged to back their nursing staff and understand the strength of public support.”