SANE training comes to campus

SANE training comes to campus

Morgan Reddekopp, Editor-in-Chief

Next semester, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) training will be available for nurses in the Winona area.

The training will take place the first week of October 2019 in Haake Hall.

SANE nurses are registered nurses who have received special training so they may provide care and testing to individuals who have been sexually assaulted. Winona Health currently only has about four nurses who are SANE certified.

It became clear to Nicole Ruhland, Student Senate chair of Student Services, that the lack of SANE certified nurses was a problem after she heard about a young woman from Winona who visited three health facilities before getting the help she needed after being assaulted.

“There was a student last semester who went to the Winona clinic but they are only open until four, and obviously a lot of sexual assaults happen after that time, so she couldn’t go there” Ruhland said. “She went to Winona Health, but there was nobody on duty who was trained so she went to La Crosse, where there was again nobody on duty. She went to Rochester, where there was nobody trained on duty.”

Ruhland said this story is appalling.

“It’s kind of appalling if you think about it. She ended up not being able to get that exam,” Ruhland said.

The exam helps survivors of sexual assault in many ways.

“The exam not only collects stuff that would be needed for court if you wanted to press charges, but it is also an examination of your body because many things can be damaged [in an assault],” Ruhland said. “It can be hard to tell what the damage is, so somebody with a trained eye needs to be able to see what’s happening.”

Not getting the exam could potentially cause future pain for patients.

“If something was torn or ripped and it is not caught, that can be a lot of pain for a really long time,” Ruhland said.

Currently, four emergency room nurses from Winona Health have committed to the SANE training.

“From what it sounds like, at Winona Health four ER nurses are for sure going to come and they are trying to get one more. They also might have someone who works in the women’s health clinic get certified,” Ruhland said.

Christina Melecio, president of Student Senate, said Ruhland took charge of solving the issue of not having enough SANE nurses.

“Nicole Ruhland took the reins on getting the training set up. She worked with Connie Karama and they both worked with Winona Health to try and figure out a solution to having a lack of certified nurses available,” Melecio said. “They came up with this plan.”

Melecio, like Ruhland, was bothered by the story of the young woman not being able to get her exam.

“That really bothered me, and I took it to President Olson and his cabinet, and we went from there before I assigned it to my Student Services chair to take over,” Melecio said. “I’m not sure how accurate the story I heard about the girl was, but it doesn’t matter. We only had four previously trained SANE nurses, and that’s simply not adequate so this was a good thing to take on regardless.”

Although training more SANE nurses cannot guarantee 24-hour coverage, Ruhland said she believes the training will ensure that there will be more times in which a SANE nurse is on duty.