After identifying a need for a sexual assault program in Owatonna and surrounding areas, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program is now being provided at Owatonna Hospital, part of Allina Health. This new program provides highly-skilled assessment and treatment to sexual assault victims in their most vulnerable state.
"There wasn't a program like this nearby," said Jody Kaiser, RN, assistant manager of the emergency department. "For victims of assault, whether physical or emotional, there just wasn't the option for a trained nurse examiner."
Until now. Thanks to a five day (or 40 hour) training course, provided through the Sexual Assault Response Service (SARS) offered at Unity Hospital, part of Allina Health, four specially trained nurses are now better prepared to handle these highly traumatic and difficult cases.
"While we don't see the number of patients that the metro area does, it's important to have a program in place locally," said Kimberly Glasgow, RN, and trained nurse examiner. "This program offers patients comfort after a traumatic situation."
If an individual has experienced an assault and comes to the Owatonna Hospital Emergency ED, they're given crisis intervention and support, as well as information about their options and rights. A specially trained nurse examiner provides a medical-forensic exam and evidence collection; they also facilitate the victim's entry into longer-term support and what to expect when dealing with the criminal justice system, upon the approval of the patient.
Owatonna Hospital nurses spent hours training with the Mayo Clinic Health System-Owatonna's OB/GYNS and nurse practitioner, performing exams. Additionally, through the generous pledge of more than $2,500 from the Auxiliary to support domestic violence patient assistance, the SANE program will receive a digital camera and memory card for evidence collection, toiletries, underwear, sweat pants and hooded sweatshirts for the victim to go home in. Additionally, Thrivent Financial in Owatonna contributed $500, through their Thrivent Care Abounds in Communities program.
The SANE program operates out of the Owatonna ED, where the trained nurse remains with the patient for the entire process until discharge. Exams are only done for patients over the age of 12-younger victims are referred to Children's Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota in St. Paul.