NURSES in the Tweed Heads Hospital emergency department have been issued with personal duress alarms after a nurse was confronted by a patient wielding a knife earlier this year.
A Northern NSW Local Health District spokeswoman said security at the hospital had a strict policy when it came to keeping staff safe at work.
"Northern NSW Local Health District takes the concerns of all our staff very seriously," the spokeswoman said.
"An incident occurred in April this year where a patient in an observation area confronted a staff member with a knife, resulting in a cut to her hand.
"Our colleague took a period of leave, counselling was offered to her and she has now returned to normal duties."
The spokeswoman said police were notified of the incident.
"The hospital launched an immediate review of security and an occupational health and safety assessment following the incident," the spokeswoman said.
"As a result of this incident every emergency department nursing staff member now carries a personal duress alarm.
"Security arrangements that support the Tweed Hospital's ED include security officers that patrol the facility 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"The security staff accommodation is physically located in the ED."
The spokeswoman also said closed circuit television cameras were in use to monitor the emergency department around the clock.
"Between 9pm and 7am each day the ED is locked down to control public access to the department," she said.
"These measures combined now provide a high level of security to ensure the safety and well being of doctors, nurses, staff and patients."