Combat trained nurses

By MIKARLA THURECHT ? ROCKHAMPTON Hospital staff are fighting back against violent patients with what's been dubbed "combat training'' for health professionals.

Six staff are currently being trained in aggressive behaviour management as part of Queensland Health's "zero tolerance'' approach to violence.

A Rockhampton Hospital spokeswoman said the six staff would then pass on their skills to those in high-risk areas such as mental health and emergency in five-day compulsory training courses.

The spokeswoman said the skills would be necessary for violent situations such as an incident on Wednesday when a mental health patient became aggressive.

Nurses were forced to barricade themselves in an office about 1am until four police officers arrived to diffuse the situation.

Queensland Nurses Union regional organiser Glenda Ross welcomed the training.

"It will help nurses identify a risk situation, talk their way out of it or get away from a situation before it worsens,'' Ms Ross said.

Ms Ross said there were different levels of training and she believed the highest level taught was about breaking arms in a crisis situation. "This level is not provided to all staff.

The training is mostly about trying to diffuse a situation. Anything more is the role of security.''

A Rockhampton Hospital nurse (who asked to remain anonymous) yesterday said she was annoyed that it had got to the point that nurses needed "combat training''.

She said while hospital management had handled the issue well, she wanted people to know nurses were doing their best.

The woman said nurses, as the first point of contact, regularly faced violence.

The woman said nurses were regularly sworn at and threatened with stabbing.

She had even heard of one who had to be escorted to work because a patient was making threats on her life: "Most of it is drug-driven. A great percentage of our patients are bad, not mad.

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