By Shannon Lynch, Womack Army Medical Center Public AffairsAugust 10, 2012
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Aug. 10, 2012) -- "Womack Army Medical Center is one of the few Army medical centers that offers a comprehensive program for
victims of sexual assault," said Col. (Dr.) Frank Christopher, the Deputy Commander for Clinical Services, Womack Army Medical Center. "The specially-trained
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE ) are a team of 18 nurses, primarily based in the emergency department and other clinical areas of Womack, who are
specially trained to meet victims' medical, emotional and legal needs. Additionally, they ensure compliance with all laws and Army regulations."
The training is shifting from the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program to the Forensic Medical Examiner Program which will include physicians and physician
assistants. New medical command training occurred in May at
Womack that included providers from Forces Command, Veteran's Administration and Womack Army Medical Center. Three other installations provided
personnel for the training. The goal is to offer this training twice a year at Womack Medical Center.
"The expansion of our forensic program not only enhances Womack and our Emergency Department, it provides a vital service to our community, the Soldiers and
their families who we are proud to take care of," said Dr. Vicki Lanier, who is in the department of emergency
SANE nurses undergo 2 weeks of intense training, followed by an 1-3 month internship with a practicing forensic provider. The training consists of education in
Army regulations, relevant male and female anatomy and hysiology, forensic examination and evidence collection, medical photography, psychology of the
sexuallyassaulted patient, interview skills, utilization of social work services, family advocacy, Army emergency relief and rape crisis centers. The second week is
dedicated to their clinical skills.
The SANE nurses are on call 24 hours-a-day to respond to victims of abuse. Nurses determine the extent of the injuries and how to treat patients, perform genital
exams, collect potential evidence and photographs, perform
baseline testing for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and coordinate with outside agencies for follow up and future treatment. If needed they testify in
criminal cases. They also ride along with local law enforcement officials, attend criminal trials and conduct scenario-based practical exercises. Each SANE nurse
conducts 40 proctored genital exams.
These nurses work in conjunction with Social Work Services and the Victim Advocate's Office at Fort Bragg.
"We provide SANE coverage for Fort Bragg, 24 hours-per- day, 7 days-per-week," said Christopher. "The SANE nurses provide services to sexual assault
patients 14-years-old and over."
For pediatric patients, Womack has one pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner on staff and plans to expand the pediatric program within the next year. Womack
Army Medical Center can also rely on Dr. Sharon Cooper and Dr.Ursula Chesney, both whom are developmental and forensic pediatricians.
The improvements in DNA collection and forensic testing make it possible to collect evidence up to 120 hours after an assault. Kelly Taylor, RN , the SANE
program coordinator, explained that the emergency department
has one specific treatment room that is designated for assault patients.
"The room is set up to do triage, provide treatment, gather evidence and discharge patients that are being treated for sexual abuse cases," Taylor said. "The
emergency department staff has access to clothing for those sexual
assault patients that are brought to the emergency department.
"We want our patients to feel safe during the exam," she said. "We want them to know that our emergency department and highly trained forensic staff has
everything they need to treat our patients both emotionally and physically."