BY TRISH CRUMP, RN, SANE-A, WASATCH FORENSIC NURSES
Wasatch Forensic Nurses, formerly Salt Lake Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SLSANE), is a non-profit 501c3, organization with the purpose of providing medical forensic examinations to adolescent and adult victims of sexual assault in Salt Lake County.
In 2001 Dianne Fuller APRN, and Susan Chasson APRN, organized, and began the training of a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) team. Dianne and Susan planned and implemented the first 40 hour SANE training, where a group of approximately 10 registered nurses received training to become sexual assault nurse examiners. SL SANE cared for 69 patients in 2002 at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center. In an effort to provide patient centered care SL SANE became mobile, responding to hospitals within the Salt Lake County, where patients presented or preferred to be seen for the medical forensic exam.
The mission of Wasatch Forensic Nurses is to provide compassionate care and professional timely collection of forensic medical evidence as part of a multidisciplinary team. The number of exams has gradually increased over the past 14 years, with 443 exams performed in 2015 by 23 nurses. Statistics indicate only one in ten victims of sexual assault report or have a medical exam. The increase of examinations over the years is likely due to increased reporting and a better understanding that the exams are not victimizing or painful.
Wasatch Forensic Nurses PROVIDE ADDITIONAL FORENSIC SERVICES such as, forensic examinations on suspects for law enforcement agencies, and courtroom testimony in cases involving the forensic examination and strangulation.
The recent name change is one that has been considered for several years as a way to reflect the scope and geography of the service provided. After 14 years of providing care for victims of sexual violence in the hospital emergency departments in Salt Lake County, the medical forensic team is now responding to requests from Utah County to provide services outside of the Salt Lake Country border.
Wasatch Forensic Nurses currently has a team of 24 nurses. A nurse is on call 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week to answer questions and conduct forensic exams. Currently, the forensic team responds to 12 hospitals in Salt Lake County and one in Utah County, Mountain Point Hospital in Lehi. As a courtesy to the victim and law enforcement agency, the nurse will respond to the hospital of the victims choosing.
Wasatch Forensic Nurses provide additional forensic services such as, forensic examinations on suspects for law enforcement agencies. Courtroom testimony in cases involving the forensic examination and strangulation. Additionally, they provide education to nurses, healthcare professionals and collaborating agencies throughout the state regarding victim centered care.
As forensic nurses, Wasatch Forensic Nurses feels fortunate to work with law enforcement agencies throughout Salt Lake and Utah County. Not only does law enforcement protect and serve our community, but they provide victim centered care towards victims of sexual violence. Wasatch Forensic Nurses appreciates the working relationship they have with them.