LOWELL, MASS. (WHDH) - A Lowell General Hospital nurse is opening up after she was attacked by a patient last month.

Grace Politas told 7NEWS she wanted to bring awareness to just how common a violent encounter like the one she suffered can be for healthcare workers.

On July 31, Politas reported for duty in the hospital’s emergency room.

“I said, ‘Oh, my name is Grace, I am going to be your nurse. I’d like to take vital signs, give you your medications,” she recalled. “He was kind of basically, like, ‘Nope, I don’t want anything to do with it.”

While sitting at her desk later that evening, the unthinkable happened.

“Out of nowhere, I just remember thinking to myself, ‘Oh my gosh my head hurts really bad. Why does my head hurt,” she said.

The patient picked up a fire extinguisher and swung it at her head twice before chasing after another nurse.

“Later on a detective had shown me a video of what happened. So, I didn’t remember it but I did see and I kind of put the pieces together,” she said.

Politas suffered a brain bleed and crushed finger.

“Sometimes it’s not only is something — it’s when is something going to happen to me,” she said.

This is nothing new for healthcare workers. More than 70 percent of emergency department nurses report being assaulted during their careers.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association is currently supporting legislation that would require employers to put a plan in place to prevent the abuse.

“There needs to be advocacy and assistance,” said a representative for the union. “Right now the nurses have no one to fall back on.”

Though some days are tough, Politas said she plans to return to the front lines because the love for the job outweighs any lingering fear.

“Being a stay-at-home dog mom is top of the line but I don’t think there is any other profession that I would rather do besides nursing,” she said.

A spokesperson for the hospital said new measures have been put in place in the wake of the attack including the addition of more security.

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