Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner
The goal of the sexual assault nurse examiner program is to provide free coordinated, timely, comprehensive and compassionate care to pediatric and adult victims of sexual assault. The SANE program is available 24 hours a day and provides an environment that is patient focused. The protocol for treatment of a sexual assault patient is followed under the medical director and the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) standards of practice. The SANE program nurses work collaboratively with police, prosecutors, child protective services and community advocacy services to provide optimal and coordinated care. Care provided can include, as appropriate:
- SANE examination
- Emergency contraception
- STI prophylactic treatment
- Expert witness testimony
- Educational presentations
The New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, Inc. has contracted with Roosevelt General Hospital to provide SANE services. Sexual assault can be recognized as a non-emergent situation so our services can be and are provided outside the emergency room setting.
Trained SANE nurses are able to give expert and knowledgeable testimony aiding in the prosecution and court processes.
SANE provides a safe, confidential, compassionate and sensitive environment. It is the first step a victim initiates in the healing process following this traumatic experience.
SANE is part of a multidisciplinary team that facilitates the collaborative works of many community agencies and services such as the Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, local law enforcement agencies, and CYFD.
What Does Sane Do?
- Provides private, confidential treatment, regardless of race, age, gender or sexual orientation
- Conducts a medical examination with written documentation, photo documentation and evidence collection
- Provides treatment for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy prevention
- Assists victims in filing sexual assault reports with appropriate law enforcement
- Promotes post-assault treatment by providing information on Mental Health Resources and counseling availability, and other local support networks
We can provide services without a police report (this does not include child abuse, disabled victims, or elder abuse).
Elements of a SANE Exam
The sexual assault exam is always secondary to treating emergency or life-threatening injuries. As a result, the SANE will evaluate all patients to ensure that they are medically stable and able to consent to services. The SANE will describe the various components of an examination at the time you arrive at the unit. The exam includes a head-to-toe medical assessment to determine the extent and type of your injuries; medical history and patient narrative of the assault; evidence collection; photo documentation; medications; safety planning; and discharge/follow up instructions.
Sexual assault patients are offered medications to prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. Additional follow-up testing and treatment may be suggested. If you have risk factors for HIV a referral for testing and possible treatment will be made.
At the completion of the exam, the nurse will go over all the discharge instructions including medication, injury treatment, and additional medical follow-up. The nurse will also help the patient implement a safety plan and provide a list of referrals to assist you withrecovery. These will include referrals for counseling services, financial assistance, victim advocacy, and law enforcement. The SANE will also assist you in the event you have not reported to law enforcement and have now chosen to do so.
The SANE will gather a thorough medical history from the sexual assault patient. Information including personal hygiene since the assault, nature of the assault, and length of time since the assault are all pertinent to the physical exam and help guide the SANE through the exam.
Follow- Up Services
Sexual assault patients are asked by the SANE if they wish to be contacted by a patient advocate in the coming days. Follow-up services include additional photography of injuries, reviewing referrals, assistance with Crime Victims Reparation Funding Applications, medical follow up referrals with our medical director, and other needed services.
Photo documentation compliments the SANE's documentation of the medical/forensic history and physical findings by capturing still images of each injury. Both a digital camera and a Wallach ZoomScope colposcope can be used with the patient's permission. Photo documentation is not required.
SANEs have additional specialized training to provide testimony in a court hearing if your case is to be tried by the District Attorney's Office. The SANE who conducted your exam has made a commitment to be available to you, no matter how long it takes for your case to go to trial.