“You’re taking care of someone on the worst day of their life,” MSU pushes for more sex assault nurses

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – When a victim of sexual assault seeks medical treatment, a sexual assault nurse examiner, also known as a SANE nurse, is called in to help.

Unfortunately, there are only 175 of these nurses in the whole state and that provides some major problems.

“The more barriers there are, the less likely it is that victims get this kind of help and they need it. There are some real serious health issues to attend to, there are legal issues to attend to so the goal is not to make victims go to the program, but to bring the programs and the specially trained nurses to them,” said Rebecca Campbell.

She is a psychology professor at MSU and has been studying sexual assault for 25 years.

She’s part of a team at MSU that decided to do something. They announced their plan this week to double the amount of SANE certified nurses by 2024, with a focus on those in rural areas

“We want to remove barriers for the nurses themselves. They’re already practicing nurses in the community. And what we’re offering them is professional development,” she said.

“I mean. you’re taking care of someone on the worst day of their life,” said Tiffany Dusang, the director of Emergency and Forensic Nursing services at Sparrow Hospital.

Dusang has been a SANE certified nurse since 2004, and she says this job is incredibly important on a number of levels.

“You’re starting on that day, but you’re also providing courtroom testimony in the end based on what you see. Not anyone can provide that level of care to a patient and really understand the complexity of every component.”

And Campbell says Michigan State is in the perfect position to help

“We have a lot of resources to bring to the table. The college of nursing as I said already has excellent infrastructure for doing this kind of hybrid education, the online part. And then we can leverage our connections in all 83 counties in Michigan. As a land grant institution, this is our job, this is who we are.”

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