SA Health has condemned the assault of one of its nurses at the Port Lincoln Hospital early this week.
The Port Lincoln woman is recovering from facial injuries after she was allegedly punched several times while working in Accident and Emergency at 9am on Monday.
An 18-year-old from the Eyre Peninsula was arrested and charged with assault and bailed to appear in the Port Lincoln Magistrates Court on September 10.
SA Health chief nurse Jenny Hurley said violence against nurses was despicable and an unacceptable act.
"We applaud her and for actually for spotlighting this event, the violence, and how an unpredictable event leads to these repercussions," Ms Hurley said.
She said the nurse was in contact with her line manger on a daily basis and was being provided employee assistance and support to enable her to recover but also to return to work when she was ready.
Ms Hurley said while security was paramount, there were unpredictable events that could not be prepared for.
"We have people who come into emergency department who need our urgent care but also that means they, at times, act out when they don't know they're acting out," she said.
"SA Health is currently working and continues to work on and improve safety and security for all staff, all patients and the community and improvements continue to be put through, like a review recently of the current...managing challenging behaviours."
Nurses in emergency departments are trained in violence and aggression to help them manage challenging behaviour but Ms Hurley said there would always be "unpredictable acts".
Ms Hurley said emergency departments could have lots of security, and it was up to the different departments to deem what was necessary, but unpredictable behaviour would still occur in hospitals and in the community.
"It is the nature of what actually is happening not only in hospital but also in communities, the different conditions what are coming through and also people come in at a time of extreme stress," she said.
"Violence against nurses is not acceptable or what we're seeking for us as a safe environment for our professions."