The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

April 18, 2010

Nurses train to care for sex-assault victims

JOHNSTOWN — Approximately 20 registered nurses soon will begin studies and training to become sexual assault nurse examiners under a new victims-centered program which not only focuses on the latest forensic techniques but also allows the victims to remain anonymous while deciding whether to go to the police.

The program is being developed through a $79,450 federal grant in a cooperative effort by the Cambria County district attorney’s office,  Memorial Medical Center, Victim Services, Women’s Help Center and local law-enforcement departments.

Once the volunteer nurses complete the educational requirements – a

40-hour online course through Duquesne University starting in July – and follow-up practicum, a pool of the SANE examiners will be available to be called when a victim of a sexual assault or rape goes to the emergency room, Dr. Dan Wehner, chairman of Memorial’s emergency medicine department, said.

The SANE nurses also will be on-call for Miners Medical Center and Windber Medical Center.

The nurses, instead of doctors, will be doing the forensic exam and evidence collection although the doctors will handle any medical requirements for the victim/patients, Wehner said.

The nurse-examiners will remain with the victim rather than one of the on-duty nurses attempting to give care to the sexual assault victim while also caring for other patients, the doctor said.

The program is gearing up as local officials and agencies observe April as sexual awareness month to “shed light on a horrifying crime that most often goes unnoticed and unreported,” Ellen Springer, program development director, said.

The program gives victims “a safety net” of time for rape and other sexual assault victims  to remain anonymous  – up to 90 days – while deciding whether to go to the police to report the crime, District Attorney Kelly Callihan said.

She said that the nurse-examiners will be able “to meet the special concerns of this type of victim. They will be better able to explain and detail every step of the exam and why it is being done. And they will have training in protecting the evidence, the chain of custody, so that mistakes are not made and will result in better prosecutions.”

Wehner, who said that he was surprised that so many nurses have volunteered for the program, added, “Nurses tend to be giving kinds of people and want to give back to their community and help as much as they can. It’s not the money or the training, but caring for others.”

The nurse-examiners will be paid a stipend when called out for the exams, officials said. The first SANE-trained nurses should be ready by the end of the year for the project, Wehner said.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • foust_25 Teen shot in Oakhurst

    A 16-year-old New Jersey boy was taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center on Thursday after being shot three times in the Oakhurst section of Johnstown.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Audit: City overspent by $700G in 2013

    Legacy costs contributed significantly to the city of Johnstown coming up $689,000 short in its core services funding during 2013.

    July 24, 2014

  • Kuzma, jonathan Guilty plea in hammer death

    The Johnstown man who authorities said killed his father with a hammer last year pleaded guilty Wednesday to criminal homicide, authorities said.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • quecreek rescue Events to mark anniversary of Quecreek rescue

    When word spread that nine Quecreek miners were trapped underground in July 2002, Bill Arnold’s dairy farm quickly became the rescue effort’s ground zero.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged with running down fire official at accident scene

    A Mineral Point man has been charged with running down a fire police official at Monday’s fatal crash scene on William Avenue in Jackson Township.

    July 25, 2014

  • Tribune Treasure!

    July 25, 2014

  • Huger, Stephen Accused Hornerstown shooter will stand trial

    A Johnstown man will stand trial in connection with a July 12 shooting in the Hornerstown section of the city.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Board names Zahorchak’s successor

    The Greater Johnstown school board at a special meeting Thursday named a superintendent to replace the retiring superintendent, rehired its last business manager and approved other administrative appointments.

    July 24, 2014

  • Pasquerilla, Mark Pasquerilla recognized as arts patron

    First lady Susan Corbett announced Thursday from the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Pa., that Mark Pasquerilla of Johnstown has earned the Patron Award from the 2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ebensburg gets ready to party

    Party down with a shutdown.
    Downtown Shutdown, a street party featuring music and food, will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday in downtown Ebensburg.

    July 24, 2014

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
House Ads