AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hundreds of nurses rallied at the Texas State Capitol Tuesday to ask lawmakers for aid.

Holding signs saying “Care goes both ways” and “#valuenurses,” the biennial “Nurse Day at the Capitol” gathering was aimed, in part, at asking lawmakers for legislation and funding. Nursing advocates want help preventing workplace violence — like a gunshot fired at an Austin hospital pedestrian bridge and two employees killed at a Dallas hospital shooting last year.

“We’d really like to see workplace violence” addressed, said Dyana Rice, a nurse with Baylor Scott & White in Temple. “Some things in order to help mitigate that.”

As KXAN previously reported, as of 2018, health care workers were five times more likely to experience workplace violence, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which found the trend has been steadily rising since at least 2011.

Last year, the national advisor for cyber security and risk at the American Hospital Association, John Riggi, told KXAN “most all hospital CEOs I speak to across the country now say, along with cyber threats, physical threats of violence against staff is a top-risk issue.”

The Texas Nurses Association is also asking lawmakers for money to address what it calls a “significant shortage” of health care workers statewide. The TNA is asking for funding to help nursing schools increase its applicant pools and hire more teachers.

“At some point in your life, you will be touched by a nurse, maybe you’ve already been touched by a nurse,” said TNA CEO Serena Bumpus. “And, in order for our health care system to continue to thrive, they need nurses working in those hospitals.”

“Nurses are some of the hardest working individuals in health care,” she added. “And, we’re coming out of the pandemic, and I think nurses are really empowered to speak up.”