A SOUTHAMPTON nurse has spoken out about a "traumatic" attack while she was working at the city's biggest hospital.

The violent attack on the 34-year-old nurse lasted only a matter of seconds but felt more like an eternity – and it will live with her for the rest of her life.

She has spoken out about her ordeal after University Hospital Southampton announced that patients who assault and abuse staff could be refused treatment and face prosecution.

The nurse, who is not being named to protect her identity, had been working at University Hospital Southampton’s emergency department for ten years and has seen her fair share of aggression and violence from patients.

But in July last year she was the victim of violence that left her with severe injury – and the man responsible facing prison.

The nurse was on a day shift and one of several nurses caring for patients in a bay when a man who had come to ED for medical help became aggressive.

Despite efforts to calm him down, she remembers hearing raised voices and turned around just at the moment a blood monitor machine was hurled straight at a computer station.

She said: “I just froze as the man started to tear down the curtains by his bed. One of my colleagues shouted to evacuate - we needed to get the other patients out.

“The patient next to him was elderly and she was petrified. I put my arm around her to carefully edge her out of the way while he had his arms raised.

“I was sheltering the lady as I walked her out when something hit me with such force that it floored me.”

The man had picked up a chair and thrown it, knocking her to the ground.

“I remember crawling out of the bay because I was so scared to stand up. I was shaking uncontrollably; it was so traumatic," she explained.

Security were called and restrained the man while the remaining patients were ushered to safety.

She suffered major bruising across her neck, back and shoulder. She was sent home from work.

The man who assaulted her appeared in court charged with criminal damage and assaulting an emergency worker. He was given an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months and ordered to pay £750 compensation.

The nurse, who has now changed roles, said: “Nobody wants to end up in the emergency department and I understand that people are stressed or sometimes frustrated when we are busy and they have to wait – but we are always trying to do our best.

“There has always been a sense of a fairly high threshold among staff, a feeling that we will tolerate it to a point - but the fact is this isn’t acceptable at any level.

“I welcome the work now underway between UHS and the police. My colleagues and I come to work to care for sick patients and we should be able to do that without the fear or threat of violence or aggression at any level.”