Nurses were victims in 70% of assaults on hospital staff over the past 10 years, new figures released to Sinn Féin show.
Data from the HSE revealed that between 2008 and the end of November this year, 10,744 staff reported assaults ranging from harm to "near misses".
This year alone, 948 incidents have been reported, and of these, 61% were from nurses.
Doctors reported 25 assaults, while other hospital staff, including those employed in housekeeping and catering, reported 339 incidents.
Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD said that the number of assaults on nurses in hospitals across the country is unacceptable, and that hospitals must take greater steps to ensure the safety of their staff.
“Nurses play a key role in the delivery of our public health services, and for them to face such high levels of assault is completely unacceptable," she said.
"The recruitment and retention crisis in our health service is leading to understaffing and this must be making a contribution to the rising level of assaults.
“These people are on the front line of our health service and deserve the right to be able to do their jobs without fear of facing assault."