Indiana Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Training Initiative: Positive Impacts for Medical Forensic Care

J Forensic Nurs. 2022 Jul-Sep;18(3):146-155. doi: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000383. Epub 2022 Mar 10.


Background: Indiana ranks among the highest in the nation for child abuse and neglect reports. Already facing a persistent shortage of sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) to serve patients across the life span, residents with medical forensic needs were often being referred to other hospitals across the state for care or simply were not receiving medical forensic examinations because of lack of access to trained examiners. The Indiana SANE Training Project was established to evaluate the forensic nursing workforce throughout Indiana and work to expand access to qualified SANEs through training and collaboration with stakeholders, with a focus on rural and underserved areas of the state.

Methods: The Project gathered information from nurses who participated in activities during the first Project year. This information was evaluated for service gaps and ongoing training needs. The project coordinator then convened a workgroup of stakeholders and subject matter experts to evaluate and respond to the most immediate need-limited access to pediatric medical forensic providers.

Results: From September 2018 to December 2019, nurses were trained by the Project ( n = 160). Of those, 86% indicated that their hospital did not provide medical forensic examinations to pediatric patients. The Pediatric SANE Intensive was launched in October 2020 and trained pediatric SANEs ( n = 28). Upon completion, participants reported 47% increase in confidence and 56% increase in competence related to caring for pediatric patients.

Discussion: Statewide collaboration is a critical component of establishing a consistent approach to care, strengthening multidisciplinary partnerships, increasing access to medical forensic services across the life span and in rural and underserved areas, and promoting the Indiana Guidelines for Medical Forensic Examination of Pediatric Sexual Abuse Patients.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Forensic Medicine / education
  • Forensic Nursing*
  • Humans
  • Indiana
  • Sex Offenses*
  • Workforce