Forensic Nurse Week

November 6, 2018|OCVA

Forensic Nurse WeekHave you hugged a nurse today? Well, you should because this week is Forensic Nurses Week! Nov. 5 – 9 has been designated by the International Association of Forensic Nurses to honor the extraordinary work of nurses who practice in this unique nursing specialty. Let your gratitude show with a certificate of appreciation!

Forensic nurses have the knowledge and expertise to decrease the healthcare consequences of violence, improve patient recovery and lower healthcare costs. Forensic nursing is the fastest growing nursing specialty. Learn more here.

My first glimpse into the world of forensic nursing was as a community based sexual assault advocate. I accompanied victims as they went to the hospital to receive an exam. I witnessed the amazing strength of survivors and awesomeness of forensic nurses. I was even inspired to become a nurse myself! I ultimately pursued higher education in public administration and I am happy to be supporting survivors and forensic nurses in my role today at the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy.

In Washington state, 45 percent of women and 22 percent of men experience sexual violence at some point in their life. The forensic nurse may be a victim’s first encounter with a helping professional. They ensure that patients who are affected by violence receive expert, compassionate and comprehensive care. Send a thank-you card to your local forensic nurse!

The Office of Crime Victims Advocacy has joined several other Washington state government agencies, elected representatives and local nonprofits to address sexual assault forensic examination best practices. Recent activities include:

  • Awarded funding to seven grantees to provide sexual assault medical forensic examination services and related activities. Awards range from $87,061 to $207,670 from January 2018 – June 2019.
  • Administered funds for a statewide Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Training Program provided by the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress (HCSATS). 525 training participants between July 2016 and June 2018.
  • Received federal funding to continue statewide SANE Training Program provided by HCSATS through June 2021.
  • Published 2016 Study of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Availability, Adequacy, Costs, and Training.
  • Published 2018 Study of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Accessibility and Training.

To find a trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), visit WAsafe.org and search by county.

Go here to find your local community based sexual assault advocate.

If your community does not have a forensic nurse, contact your local medical facility adminstrator and watch this video.

Tara Wolfe, Sexual Assault Services Program Manager, Office of Crime Victims Advocacy

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