WMC nurses trained to help survivors of sexual assault
No one ever expects to be sexually assaulted. But sexual assault happens at alarmingly high rates in every community. According to the University of Iowa Rape Victim Advocacy Program, every 98 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted. During National Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, a team of Winneshiek Medical Center nurses wants to get the word out that resources are available to survivors and that community members are trained to help.
Winneshiek Medical Center is fortunate to have four trained sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) who provide care to survivors of sexual assault around the clock through the emergency department. Those SANEs are Gabrielle Flynt, RN, BSN; Amy Pfister, RN, BSN; Elizabeth Pfile, RN, BSN; and Jen Kinson, RN.
“There is a whole team of individuals, including law enforcement, advocates from the Riverview Resource Center, sexual assault nurse examiners, counselors, and county attorneys, that are working together to help aid and represent survivors of sexual assault,” says Flynt.
“Our purpose is to give survivors a safe place to turn during their time of need. We provide a physical exam that will maintain the survivor’s safety and personal dignity, while collecting necessary evidence should they choose to pursue legal matters,” adds Pfister.
Phile says, “If someone is a survivor of sexual assault, we want them to come to the WMC Emergency department within five days of the assault for an exam. The exam is provided free of charge to the survivor, and we can connect them with resources who will help begin the healing process.” She stresses, “The Emergency department is a safe place to go, whether or not a survivor wants to report the crime to law enforcement or press charges.”
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners undergo a rigorous training process to obtain the skills needed for this important and sensitive service. All WMC examiners requested to receive this training as a way to serve their community. “We want to be able to help people when they are most vulnerable,” says Pfister. “As Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, we feel privileged to serve our community in this unique way.”