Staffers reveal helplessness after nurse brutally bashed
A NURSE had her hair pulled and was punched repeatedly in a prolonged attack by a patient in a mental health unit at the Gold Coast University Hospital.
Another nurse in her 60s came to her aid but was kicked in the head. A male patient eventually stepped in.
The bashing happened in front of younger colleagues who felt helpless and has sparked calls for added security.
The Bulletin understands the nurse was leaving her shift at a common area in the Pandanus Room about 3pm on May 8 when a female patient launched a premeditated attack.
The nurse had earlier been removed from the floor after it became obvious the patient sought to target her.
A source told the Bulletin: "The nurse was on her way home. The patient spotted her (again) and went for her, and she had her hair and was throwing multiple punches.
"Several younger nurses, who didn't have the training to intervene, were there. A nurse in her 60s came to the other nurse's aid, and she was kicked in the head.
"One minute is a long time for an assault. Most assaults last 10 seconds, 15 seconds. A male patient intervened and immobilised the patient."
It's understood the nurse was later moved to a ward and remained there this week. She is not expected to return to the mental health unit soon.
The Bulletin understands nurses had been given occupational violence prevention training that covered low-level incidents "like an elderly patient grabbing their sleeve".
The hospital also engages extra resources if the clinical team decides they need extra staff or security support.
Many of the recently graduated younger staff are being put on shifts at the mental health unit.
"The training does not address young, fit, and aggressive violent patients," the source said.
"There is no security for nurses on the ward. They press a button and security comes. It could be one minute, it could be 10."
Nurses were surveyed up to eight months ago about workplace needs in which many of them supported security at the psychiatric intensive care unit.
"Many nurses believe there needs to be security, but it must be someone with additional mental health training. They need to keep staff safe. It is not a safe place," the source said.
A Gold Coast Health spokesperson said: "Our mental health clinicians work with some of the most vulnerable and acutely unwell community members, and it can be a challenging environment.
"But there is no place or excuse for verbal or physical aggression in hospitals or healthcare facilities.
"Gold Coast Health operates a zero-tolerance policy of violence or aggression towards
Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates said she was "sickened" to hear of the attack.
"Nurses, just like every Queenslander, have the right to work in a safe environment, and to return home to their families safely after each shift," she said.
"For years I have been raising the need for clinician-led code black teams that can de-escalate violent confrontations within minutes."
"As a registered nurse, I've witnessed too many attacks. We must protect our frontline staff."
Originally published as Staffers reveal helplessness after nurse brutally bashed