Owensboro Health Regional Hospital has been designated a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Ready facility, the first such facility in Western Kentucky.
The SANE-Ready designation was created by the state legislature and signed into law by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin in 2016. The Kentucky Board of Nursing oversees the SANE licensing process, which includes a 40-hour training course plus an additional 60 hours of area-specific training. SANE-Ready facilities have a licensed sexual assault nurse examiner available 24/7.
Patients who report sexual assault receive specific care, as laid out in state law. SANE examiners carry out the same procedures, but receive additional instruction from multiple agencies and experts on the following process:
Collect evidence using a forensic kit
Report event and transfer evidence to law enforcement
Provide testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections
Notify a local sexual assault service agency
*SANE nurses are only licensed to care for patients 14 years old and up. Owensboro Health partners with a local children’s advocacy center in Henderson, as these are the only agencies allowed by law to perform this type of care for patients under 14.
Caroline Henderson, RN, director of the Emergency Department at OHRH, said nurses who complete the training show they are dedicated to providing the best possible care to
“It’s a lot of extra work and it takes quite a while,” Henderson said. “It’s a reflection of their commitment and passion to deliver excellent care to patients, especially in difficult situations.”
Joni Sims, RN, chief nursing officer at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, said she feels this accomplishment is a demonstration of the system’s commitment to local communities.
“It’s an amazing service to the community, to have SANE nurses available 24/7. It speaks volumes to the quality of care that our ED is able to provide to our community,” Sims said. “We are now able to better serve victims of sexual assault with the highest quality of care and compassion, no matter what time of day or night.”
Megan Moore, RN, one of the SANE-designated nurses at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, said that her 60 hours of additional training included time spent with law enforcement, Owensboro sexual assault advocacy center New Beginnings, and the Commonwealth Attorney’s office in Owensboro.
Moore said her education and experience as an RN meant she could deliver the care and carry out the proper procedures for a victim of sexual assault. The SANE training gave her a more complete understanding of the process from many different angles – law enforcement, judicial and support services – not just medical. What she learned, she said, helps her do more for patients needing this care.
“I specifically chose to do this because I had taken care of patients, victims of sexual assault, and I felt like I really needed the extra training to provide the best care,” Moore said. “It’s about the patient. I felt that to do the patient justice I needed to know those extra things covered in the 100 hours of training.”
Moore said that Owensboro Health Regional Hospital becoming a SANE-Ready facility shows the level of commitment from the nursing staff, and that this is another demonstration of the system’s commitment to serving local communities.
“It really aligns with our mission,” Moore said. “The mission statement is to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities we serve, but the vision is about meeting individual needs. I feel like we are actively pursuing the vision of Owensboro Health by doing this.”