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Sexual Assault Victims: Role of the Nurse - DEMO

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What Is SANE?

A sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) is a registered nurse who has obtained specialty certification in caring for and examining sexual assault victims. While some requirements for obtaining this certification may vary based on state laws, the basic steps to becoming a SANE include:

  • Practice as a nurse for at least two years. This clinical experience is required as a SANE must be skilled in clinical assessment
  • Attend online or classroom courses to obtain SANE certification
  • Complete clinical education requirements as well as preceptorship and other clinical skill training requirements as outlined in the International Association of Forensic Nursesstandards
  • Complete and pass board certification as a SANE

Completing SANE training for nurses interested in forensic training is more than just an added certification. According to Bush, a study of rape kits completed by SANE nurses contained 100 percent proper documentation while only 79 percent of kits completed by a non-SANE nurse contained proper documentation. For sexual assault victims, these differences could mean the difference between bringing their assailant to justice or not.

Additional benefits of the SANE certification include:

  • SANE-collected kits are some of the “strongest courtroom evidence in supporting victim testimony
  • SANE nurses are frequently called as credible witnesses
  • The American College of Emergency Physicians has endorsed the role of SANE nurses
  • SANEs are the FBI’s preferred examiners of those claiming sexual assault

Nurses wishing to learn more about the SANE certification should visit the International Association of Forensic Nurses website at www.forensicnurses.org.

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