OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital is now offering additional training to nurses about collecting evidence from patients after a sexual assault.

The Sexual Assault Nurse Examination, or SANE, program teaches registered nurses about the culture surrounding sexual assault, court proceedings, and the role of advocates and police, Teresa Mowen, SANE coordinator and clinical educator at O’Bleness, said.

“(Registered nurses) get some clinical training on how to collect the evidence and do the exams,” Mowen said.

Mowen teaches nurses participating in the program. There are four nurses already trained in SANE at O’Bleness.

The training is not required by the hospital. Registered nurses who want to receive training in SANE are required to fulfill 40 hours of class time. 

“Primarily, the emergency room is the only department, and it’s not a requirement. It’s a volunteer education if you want to attend the SANE training,” Lianne Dickerson, director of the emergency department at O’Bleness, said.

However, O’Bleness requires registered nurses in the emergency department to be trained in Sexual Assault Forensic Examination,  Dickerson said.

SAFE only takes a few hours to complete and covers different topics from SANE training. With SAFE, nurses learn how to collect forensic evidence.

Athens Police Department Chief Tom Pyle believes the training can be helpful when it comes to solving sexual assault crimes.

“The treatment that victims receive is much more consistent (with SANE training),” Pyle said.

Pyle compared SANE training to training police officers receive. Overall, the training nurses receive could increase the rate of criminal prosecution for sexual assaults.

O'Bleness and APD are involved in the Sexual Assault Resource Collaborative group, in which they combine resources in Athens County and at Ohio University to help survivors of sexual assault.



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