Learn more about the role of a sexual assault nurse examiner – Part 2

December 10, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Meeting mentors at McCormick hospital in Chiang Mai Route to becoming a SANE nurse

Before you can practise in this specialty, you need to first obtain your registered nursing certification. You can choose to become an RN either by earning your associate degree in nursing over two to three years, or by completing a four year bachelor’s of science degree in nursing from a college or university.

After becoming a fully registered nurse, you will have to complete an advanced training programme to become licensed to practise in this field. Continuing education is a crucial aspect of this specialty.

SANE certification is not mandatory. However, although it is voluntary, obtaining certification is very valuable for several reasons. Most importantly, it gives you credibility as a professional by endorsing your advanced knowledge and expertise in this highly specialised field.


SANE specialisations

As a SANE nurse, you can choose to undergo further training that will qualify you to work specifically with sexually abused adults or with sexually abused children.

Additionally, you could choose to work with more specific subsets of victims, such as the elderly, people with disabilities, refugees and immigrants.


Important things to think about if you are interested in this field

For anyone who is interested in pursuing this nursing stream it is absolutely crucial to know what the job involves. This is unlike most other nursing specialties where the primary focus is to heal a patient’s visible, physical wounds while also offering comfort and assurance.  

There are several highly complex issues involved with this nursing field that have to be taken into consideration, such as the issue of confidentiality, child protective services, mandated reporting, consent and uncooperative victims. While all sexual abuse victims need to be treated with great sensitivity, it takes a special person to be able to deal with children who are victims but cannot express themselves.

In addition to the massive professional responsibilities, one of the biggest challenges for SANE nurses is to try and remain objective to the fate of their patients. It can be difficult to not get personally involved when dealing with sexually abused babies and elderly individuals but it is absolutely imperative to do so for several reasons. For one thing, you need to stay objective in order to give your patient the best possible professional care and the second is to avoid getting emotionally burned out. These are just a few things you need to understand before you make the decision to specialise in this field.    

Becoming a sexual assault nurse examiner can be particularly challenging, but for nurses who choose this path, it can be tremendously fulfilling. Just knowing that you are helping individuals in such a vulnerable position can be a reward in itself.