NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — In less than a week, two arrests were made involving firearms found inside two Nashville hospitals. Now, Tennessee nurses are sharing their concerns about safety breaches.
“First and foremost, we worry about the safety of nurses not just here in Middle Tennessee, but across the state,” said Julie Hamm, president of the Tennessee Nurses Association. “Very concerning in a place where we’re trying to give care and make people better that this is happening.”
Hamm said she’s “baffled” that someone could bring violence into a place of care.
Shots were fired inside Ascension Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville on Saturday, Nov. 26. According to Metro Police, 33-year-old Nicholas Zaayenga was charged after he allegedly opened fire and was found with a firearm, multiple magazines and bullet casings.
On Monday, Nov. 28, Allen Staes, 23, was arrested at TriStar Centennial Medical Center after police said they found four handguns in his bag. Staes was in the hospital to receive a CT scan.
Hamm said nurses are aware of growing security threats in recent years and are advocating for more protection.
“It brings it to the forefront of everyone’s minds and makes us worry a little,” said Hamm. “We’re already in a stressful job trying to provide care, and then now we have to worry about our own personal safety as well as our patient’s safety because nurses always focus on their patients.”
Hamm said a win came in 2021 when Tennessee law made assaulting a nurse a felony. She said they’re continuing to bring safety law ideas to state leaders.