Photo: Joe Armao
Nearly three in four nurses has been attacked at work in the last year.
The statistic has been revealed after a man allegedly armed with a knife held a nurse hostage at the Royal Melbourne Hospital on Wednesday.
Paul Gilbert from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation said the problem goes back decades.
"Sadly for us, from a cultural point of view, the problem is seen as part of the job," Mr Gilbert told 3AW Drive.
A recent Monash University study found that 70% of nurses and midwives had experienced violence and aggression in the last year.
Mr Gilbert said often people don't report the incidents because they don't think it will do anything, and that needs to change.
"There are hospitals that we've reported to WorkSafe where nurses have been knocked out in the course of work, and it's not even been reported," he said.
"It's like we're in a world where the law doesn't apply.
"We've got hospitals who know they're admitting someone who has a violent past, and they're not taking steps to ensure the staff are safe."
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