What is SANE Nurse?
SANE means Sexual Assault Nursing Examiner. SANE nurse training prepares you for examining, assessing and especially caring for victims of sexual assault. You are dealing with living individuals, and you must be able to gain their trust and establish both a professional and caring rapport quickly. You do this because your examination will be evidentiary, forensic and invasive, as you gather evidence of sexual assault both for treatment purposes and criminal prosecutions. This examination and set of diagnostics can be traumatic for the victim, as many of them “relive” the experience in the examination.
The Sexual Assault Nursing Examiner must be on call 24 hours, and may frequently work for a program that coordinates with a rape crisis center. The examiner’s proximity to the care facility is vital; she must be there no later than an hour after the victim’s arrival. The double duties of this post are essential but difficult: you must, in a professional way, obtain forensic evidence, while similarly offering crisis intervention strategies and counseling, including testing for STI, drug testing (if a “date rape” or similar drug is suspected) and possible emergency contraception (if, for example, the patient wishes a “24 pill” to obviate possible pregnancy).
How to Train to be a SANE Nurse
To begin, you are training to be an RN, as no one approaches this field without at least RN certification from the American Board of Nursing. To achieve the certification of RN, you should begin early (in high school or college at the latest) with basic classes in mathematics and the sciences (biology, chemistry, anatomy and forensic medicinal procedures, if available).
At college level, you should register with an accredited Nursing training programor through a major university that offers, at the very least, a Bachelor of Science (BSN) degree level certification. Please note that an associate’s degree will not be sufficient to allow you to be competitive in the Forensic nursing field; similarly, a Master’s level in Forensic nursing is hugely advantageous.
After at least two years of advanced courses in medical ethics, care and advanced sciences, you should be prepared to spend at least two years invested in hands-on clinical experience in hospital and rape crisis settings.
Most RNs have a basic requirement of at least 1,000 hours to complete certification; specializations in nursing (including SANE and other Forensic examiner positions) require at least another 1,000 hours (the ideal level is 4,000 to be job-competitive in the field, obviously involving a huge amount of time in your training and education).
Specific Training for SANE certification
There are numerous programs in crisis centers, medical facilities and even online to offer SANE nurse training for beginners, but your 4,000 or so hours of hands-on clinical work should specialize in the following disciplines. These are recommended by American Forensic Nurses for training in certification as a Forensic Examiner or SANE nurse:
Identify/collect forensics evidence within the health care setting, maintain its viability for legal use.
Establish communication with victim advocates, law enforcement and the judicial members of the forensic team
Learn treatment techniques for triage and emergency interventions for victims of assault
Know basic policies/procedures for conducting evidentiary exams with child and adult victims
Know psychologically sound counseling and care methods for victims
What the SANE Nurse Can Expect as Job Outlook and Salary
The Bureau of Labor/Statistics tends to gather all emergency room and trauma examiners in the same category of Emergency Technicians; this includes the SANE nurse and Forensic Examiner. Their job future looks significantly favorable, as many emergency rooms are suffering from overcrowding; these facilities, as well as rape crisis centers, are constantly hiring specialized staff to deal with specific traumas, including those of sexual abuse. This need may push the job growth rate far beyond the projected 9 percent for 2008-2018.
At start, the SANE nurse can expect between $11.13 to 18.28 per hour; however, the experienced SANE nurse (especially with the advanced degree training) can command an hourly wage of between $26 and $100 at her highest level of expertise. The average yearly salary is around $70,000.
The job is a challenging juggle of technique, skill, tact and caring, but SANE nurse trainingwill be immensely rewarding for the right individual.