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Nurses protest at Texas Capitol to bring awareness to working conditions, staffing shortages

One nurse group is asking for violence prevention training programs in hospitals and lower patient-to-nurse ratios.

AUSTIN, Texas — Amanda Rose is an emergency department nurse. She said her job is dangerous.

"I've been assaulted by patients hitting me, smacking me, I've been scratched, had blood drawn. I've seen patients punch nurses, nurses get tackled by patients. We spend a lot of time getting taught how to protect ourselves," Rose said.

Rose and other nurses want to get the attention of lawmakers, which is why they rallied at the Texas Capitol on Thursday. The Texas Nurses Association wants violence prevention training programs in hospitals. They also want a lower patient-to-nurse ratio.

"Studies have shown that for every patient a nurse has to take, it increases another patient's mortality by 7%,” said Rose.

Suzanne Roddel is also a nurse, and has had her arm twisted by a patient. She said nurses aren't paid enough. According to Indeed.com, the average starting salary for a nurse in Texas is about $38 an hour. 

“They talk about capping travel nurse company payments when really these CEOs are making millions of dollars every year,” Roddel said.

Roddel said being underpaid and overworked affects the patients. 

"They call us burned out, we're not burned out. We have a moral injury, which is caused because we're forced to provide subpar care," she said.

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