Four hospitals add Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) to staff
Bluegrass Community Hospital, Bourbon Community Hospital, Clark Regional Medical Center, and Georgetown Community Hospital will all add SANE nurses to its staff
VERSAILLES/WINCHESTER/PARIS/GEORGETOWN, Ky. (WTVQ) – Four more hospitals in the state are adding 24-hour ‘SANE’ nurses to its emergency room staff.
According to Haven Andrews, founder of Still Waters Center and a SANE nurse herself, it’s a way to help provide compassionate care for survivors of sexual assault a little closer to home.
“Survivors may be driving an hour-plus just to get an exam. Who wants to do that when you’ve just been through one of the worst experiences of your life? To go to a hospital and hear, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, go to this hospital.’ And then sit and wait for a SANE nurse,” said Andrews.
Andrews has worked through Ampersand Sexual Violence Resource Center to partner with LifePoint Health’s four Central Kentucky hospitals: Bluegrass Community Hospital in Versailles, Bourbon Community Hospital in Paris, Clark Regional Medical Center in Winchester, and Georgetown Community Hospital in Georgetown to bring SANE-certified nurses to its emergency rooms.
“You know, when you’re faced with a situation like this, at times it’s like, ‘What do I do?’ And we just want the community to know this resource is here for them,” said Georgetown Community Hospital and Bluegrass Community Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Donna Davis
According to Andrews, these certified nurse examiners receive about 42 extra hours of training, learning how to reduce a survivor’s re-traumatization during examination, as well as how to properly preserve forensic evidence.
Kentucky law requires all hospitals with an emergency room to have a trained staff member for sexual assault survivors on-duty, but in smaller, more rural hospitals, that staff member could be working with several patients with different medical conditions at a time, making the wait time for an examination much longer.
“Especially in rural counties, your staffing is just lower because its a lower-staffed hospital. You may have 1 physician and 2 nurses so when a sexual assault survivor comes in, that can take 3 to 4 hours, so that pulls that staff member away from other ER patients,” said Andrews.
Andrews says having a SANE-certified staff member on hand means getting seen by a trained professional faster.
“We as SANE nurses we don’t have to worry about the responsibility of the demands an ER can have on a staff member. So we can actually give truly devoted one on one care to the patient without that other hustle and bustle,” said Andrews.