The training took place over the course of six months, and included mastering the skills needed to provide emotional support and medical treatment to victims of rape and sexual assault, while also collecting vital forensic evidence.
Northwell Health emergency departments across the region treated 699 sexual assault victims since January 2018.
Tracy Basta, Dee Dee Latham, Shonda Ramirez and Sandra Spencer-Kingston joined 16 other Northwell Health nurses at a ceremony in New Hyde Park, where they were certified as SANE nurses.
The SANE program is 40 hours of classroom training and 300 hours of hands-on clinical training.
“This program is important for nursing, to keep us evolving and growing so we work to the full breadth of our scope of practice,” said Amy Smith, a nurse practitioner at LIJ Forest Hills and coordinator of the SANE program. “Having SANE nurses in our hospitals benefits all of the diverse communities we serve, so that no patient who seeks SANE services needs to be transferred out of our facilities and out of their neighborhoods.”
The Hofstra Northwell SANE program is the only university- and health system-based program in New York State. A federal grant funds the program with the goal to increase the number of SANE nurses in New York.
A SANE nurse is often the first person to help sexual assault survivors, making sure they feel safe as they are treated in the emergency room.
The absence of SANE nurses can often re-victimizes those who have suffered a sexual assault by having them recount what happened several times, including to emergency room personnel, nurse, physician or another clinician.
SANE nurses act as personal advocates, staying upwards of six hours with their patients as they gain their trust, ask difficult questions, conduct physical exams to check for evidence and injury, provide emergency contraceptives and maintain evidence for law enforcement.
“We are very proud of the inaugural class,” said Kathleen Gallo, senior vice president and chief learning officer at Northwell Health. “They are leading the way in shaping how Northwell Health will respond to the special needs of these victims.”