In a person’s most
painful moments, forensic nurses are a source of comfort, not only treating
victims of violence, abuse and trauma, but giving them a voice.
Nurses Week from Nov. 11-15, Franciscan Health is recognizing the difficult
work these SANE (sexual assault nurse examiner) nurses do in their Centers
of Hope, designated spaces where victims are given one-on-one trauma care.
Forensic nursing is
the application of the nursing process to public or legal proceedings and
the application of forensic healthcare in the investigation of trauma or
death related to abuse, violence, criminal activity, liability and
accidents. Or as Michelle Resendez, RN, a coordinator for Franciscan Health,
put it more succinctly: “It’s where healthcare and the law intersect.”
facility recruits and invests in staff to attend training to be able to
provide this very specialized service, with a current focus on pediatric
SANE nurses. Franciscan Health Crown Point is offering a five-day intensive
SANE adult/adolescent training course that instructs nurses in the
--An awareness of
the acute and long-term effects of sexual violence.
Criminal Justice Institute has a sex crimes victims fund that provides
medical treatment and forensic services at no cost to victims. “No one
should ever hesitate to come in for evaluation and services,” Resendez said.
Time is of the essence because the window of evidence collection in the
adult/adolescent population is five days and in pediatrics three days.
Center of Hope Mission program provides community outreach and education,
and works collaboratively with law enforcement agencies, including Sexual
Assault Response Teams in Lake and LaPorte counties. Crown Point’s Center of
Hope is currently the only facility in Lake County providing pediatric SANE
examinations and the only facility that has a board-certified forensic nurse
examiner on staff.
RN, SANE nurse at Franciscan Health Crown Point agrees with the need to
raise awareness. “This program is so important because this type of violence
is so intimate and not easily talked about,” she said. “Sexual assault is
something that every woman knows about but nearly none feel comfortable