NEW ALBANY, Ind — Thanks to a new grant, a New Albany hospital can train four new nurses to handle sexual assault cases.
The Floyd Memorial Foundation awarded Baptist Health Floyd $10,000 to train the new Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE). The nurses must complete 80 hours of specialized training.
Currently, three nurses are doing 20-hour shifts on top of their regular full-time jobs said Scot White, manager of EMS, Trauma and Forensics for Baptist Health Floyd.
"Our main goal is to protect them and do what they need done," said White.
White said SANE nurses examine patients after they have been cleared medically by a physician. They will use a kit given by the state to preserve evidence and send that to law enforcement if that’s the route the patient wants to take.
"We want the patient to feel comfortable coming here. Sometimes involving law enforcement takes away that comfort zone so we don't force that," said White. "We do contact the Center for Women and Families and they will send an advocate out to be with the patient, they can also refuse that."
That's where Director Zenebia Law and her team at the Center for Women and Families in Southern Indiana come in.
She said it's important these patients feel supported from the start.
"To have someone there with you who doesn't have an agenda to, you know, have you to do anything other than I'm physically here to listen to you, I can hold your hand, if you want me to," said Law.
She said when it comes to program expansion, she knows it’s necessary to continue their advocacy efforts in more areas.
"It's needed in our community, you know, like someone who has experienced that, you know, having to leave their own community to go get support because there's not enough support in their community. That's kind of heartbreaking," said Law.
Baptist Health is opening a new ER/Urgent care in Jeffersonville sometime this summer. Some of the nurses will work out of the new facility to help care for more sexual assault victims.
The Women's and Family Center in Southern Indiana is a resource for assault survivors and has a crisis line. It's available to call 24 hours a day. That number is 1-844-BE-SAFE-1 or 1-844-237-2331.
You can also check out their website for resources by clicking here.
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