SANE nurses help victims of sexual assault

Four WhidbeyHealth nurses completed training for SANE, while two experienced SANE nurses were recruited to join the WhidbeyHealth team of nurse examiners.

WhidbeyHealth’s Chief Nursing Officer, Lisa Sanford, recently announced the reinstatement of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) at the Coupeville hospital.

A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner is a qualification for forensic nurses who have received special training to conduct sexual assault evidentiary exams for rape victims. SANE nurses are specially trained in the medical, psychological and forensic examination of a sexual assault victim.

Four WhidbeyHealth nurses completed training for SANE, while two experienced SANE nurses were recruited to join the WhidbeyHealth team of nurse examiners. The SANE program employs highly-trained nurse practitioners or advanced practice registered nurses, who are required to get certification as part of the protocol-driven service.

“We are now able to offer SANE examiners 24/7 at WhidbeyHealth for the victims of sexual assault,” said Jackie Bassett, manager of the program.

“We are extremely pleased to provide reliable coverage for this important support to our patients, as well as to be able to work collaboratively with law enforcement,” she added.

If a victim is unable to get a SANE exam, law enforcement’s ability to hold offenders accountable is hindered due to the physical evidence the exam provides. Without a SANE nurse at WhidbeyHealth Medical Center, victims would be forced to go off the island, which could prevent some victims from getting the exam at all.

“We are pleased that the teamwork between WhidbeyHealth, these nurses and law enforcement has allowed us to provide the necessary care and protection to sexual assault victims,” Sanford said.