Q&A: SANE Program Support Session

Forensic SANE nurse holding hand of sexual assault patient

As part of our Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) grant program, enrolled nurse participants have access to various mentoring resources while they obtain their SANE-related practice hours, including Individual Support Sessions. Nurses in the program can request a session to receive guidance from an Expert SANE through a one-on-one session via the phone or Zoom videoconferencing.

Learn more about the benefits of this program, including the value of the Individual Support Session feature, by watching a video discussion between Associate Professor Alison Colbert, PhD, PHCNS-BC, FAAN, discusses the program with a SANE program participant.

Transcript of Video

Dr. Alison Colbert: Amanda, thank you so much for talking to us today. Can you introduce yourself and tell us where you work, and about your current practice?

Amanda Keiper: Sure. My name is Amanda Keiper. I am an emergency room nurse. I’ve been there for 17 years at St. Luke’s University and Health Network. We are 11 hospitals wide, and I work in the emergency room. I’ve been a SANE nurse since 2017, and I’ve seen about 25 cases to date.

Dr. Colbert: So in you came to Pittsburgh for the CPC training. What have you been doing related to your SANE to practice since you returned home from that training?

Amanda: I’ve definitely boosted my confidence, having the expert SANEs validate how I was doing my exam, having the victim advocates there telling me that I was doing a great job interviewing the patient.

So that has been a huge confidence booster knowing that I’m providing the best care I can.

In the meantime, I have definitely utilized the one on one meeting with the grant with Cheryl, who I reached out to because our SANE program was almost obsolete when I signed up in 2017. We hit rock bottom. We had a really high turnover rate, and it took a lot to get going again.

So, I know the new guidelines came out in July of 2019 that you needed to do anonymous reporting. So my boss gave me the task of trying to come up with a process that would work for all 11 hospitals. We use 3 different crime labs, and I didn’t know where to start. So having you guys as a reference has been the key factor in all of it in my success.

Cheryl was able to meet with me one on one. She went through her process with me on what’s working for her hospital. We gathered a whole bunch of information. She basically set me up with all of the tools I needed. I knew what information I needed to get in order to come up with a process that would work for our network.

So that has been really huge since I came back from Pittsburgh getting that up and running, having it work. I was able to….she’s just calming when I feel like it’s impossible. She was able to reassure me that we have this. We’ll get you through this.

So I was able to come up with a simple five step process on anonymous reporting, and it’s working.

Dr. Colbert: That’s great. So you’ve been able to implement it, as well as designing it and getting moving, and you’ve implemented it all 11 places.

Amanda: Correct.

Dr. Colbert: That’s great. Fantastic, wonderful.

And have you been using or attending the monthly CE sessions or any of the other things, or watching the videos or anything like that?

Amanda: Absolutely. There’s so much information to be learned on all of the monthly review courses. What do you call them?

Dr. Colbert: Oh, the case reviews, the peer review.

Amanda: That’s been great because you hear real case reviews that I then associate with different cases I’ve had, how I would change things. And I’ve been able to definitely improve my practice.

I reached out again when I had a victim with multiple injuries. I was actually helping a new SANE nurse on that case. She and I were working together and after the case I reached out, and again I received Cheryl, so I was thrilled.

And she was able to tell me how she documents multiple injuries on a site very easily. I could roll out an email to the rest of my SANE nurses, say “Hey guys, you know, this is coming from an Expert SANE; this is how she documents it.” And since then, we’ve all changed our practice and how we document large injury sites.

Even from starting a new process to the smallest of documentation. The turnaround time is impeccable. They get right back to you, they answer professionally, but they’re also not intimidating either

Dr. Colbert: That’s great to hear. So I think I know the answer to this, but would you recommend that other nurses who are part of this grant use this kind of one-on-one opportunity to work with the Expert nurse?

Amanda: Absolutely. I mean, the resources that we have in front of us are invaluable. Any question, anytime, they get right back to you.

I don’t, I’m going to miss it when I don’t have access anymore, but I’m making a network of resources that I know who I can call the drop of a hat, if I have a question and I have nobody else to turn to, which is where I started.

I work for a very large hospital, but the SANE program is very small. And we don’t have a lot of experience. So having expert SANEs to be there, and you know somebody who’s backing you up with a question, and be able to get that answered and improve my practice; again, invaluable.

Dr. Colbert: That’s great. Sounds like you’re well on your way to becoming your own expert in which case you’ll be able to serve as a resource, it sounds like, for lots of nurses in your health network, which is wonderful.

Amanda: Yes, that is my goal.

Dr. Colbert: Well, that’s what we need, right? That’s the whole purpose of the grant is to get people out there in that way. And so my last question for you then is, are you planning to sit for certification?

Amanda: I have. I have already signed up and paid for the April exam.

Dr. Colbert: Wonderful. The April exam, fantastic. And you feeling like you’re prepared at this point, you know, with the resources available to you? Are you are you using some of those to prepare for the certification exam?

Amanda: Well, everyone keeps reassuring me that if I do all of the monthly videos and they’re coming out with a three week review course soon, that I should do ok. So I’m going to re-watch all of the videos in preparation for the exam, and I’m definitely eager to get started on that three week review course.

Dr. Colbert: Wonderful. Well, Amanda, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate it. Thank you for sharing your experience. I think sometimes nurses are hesitant to call. What would you say to the nurse who’s thinking, well maybe I’ll call or maybe I won’t? What would you, how would you encourage them to go ahead and use this?

Amanda: Honestly, that’s the hardest part, is just doing it. The hardest part is logging onto your computer, signing in, and just writing it down, you know, putting it out there. They’ll get back to you, whether it’s—you don’t have to talk to somebody. You can send an email. If you don’t want to talk face-to-face. I definitely recommend face-to-face because it feels like that person sitting right there next to you. But, we log onto a computer every day, so if that’s the hardest part, that’s easy.

Dr. Colbert: Thank you so much, Amanda. We really appreciate your time and good luck on the certification exam.

Amanda: Thank you. Thank you for everything you guys are doing to help us.

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