Training for nurses about handling sexual assault complexities rolling out across Idaho

Sexual assault nurse examiner trainings in Idaho
Posted at 4:21 PM, Feb 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-02 18:21:35-05

MERIDIAN  — It's not always an easy topic to talk about, but necessary when you're the one in charge of collecting evidence in a sexual assault case.

"We're specifically trained nurses to do this kind of work, so we need this education to know what to do," said SANE training attendee Emily Patterson.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner or SANE training is rolling out across Idaho. In this 40 hour course, nurses learn to handle the complexities of evidence collection, photographs and ethics related to handling delicate investigations.

"I think every piece is really important to the job that we're doing," said Patterson.

They're also learning timing is key. According to Idaho's sexual assault response guidelines, physical evidence can be collected up to 120 hours following an assault. In that short amount of time, there's a lot of juggling these nurses have to manage.

"Forensic nurses have an added degree of complexity to their role, in addition to caring to their patients medical needs and mental health needs, there's a crime that's been committed and evidence needs to be collected," said program manager and registered nurse Katherine Kerner.

The training isn't required for nurses to work with patients facing these situations, but the attendees say it helps make sure their patients receive the most beneficial medical care to defend their case.

" it's important because it's a legal offense, and we want to be able to help the patient to be able to find that suspect if they want to," said Patterson.

The training is possible due to federal grant money through ISP's forensic services lab, which is where sexual assault evidence kits are tracked by police and also patients who want to see where there kit is.