Sexual assault nurse clinician: an emerging area of nursing expertise

AWHONNS Clin Issues Perinat Womens Health Nurs. 1993;4(2):180-90.


The Sexual Assault Resource Service (SARS), in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has been a leader in developing a new independent role for nurses, the Sexual Assault Nurse Clinician/Examiner. In this role, the nurse works closely with the emergency department staff, the police, and the courts to ensure that proper evidence is collected for use in court to aid in the prosecution of assailants. This program was developed in 1977 when a gap in service delivery to rape victims was identified by obstetric-gynecologic nurses at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. An initial 3.5-year demonstration treatment grant allowed development of the model program. The SARS nurse is on call to five community hospitals. When a rape survivor comes to one of the participating hospitals, the SARS nurse on call is paged. In the emergency department, the nurse completes the full evidentiary examination, evaluates the survivor's risk of pregnancy and offers preventive care; treats prophylactically for sexually transmitted diseases; provides crisis intervention; and ensures that injuries are treated by the emergency department staff. The SARS model was developed at the county hospital, but it was expanded to include four local private hospitals. In all hospitals, all services are free of charge to the survivor. There are approximately 12 similar programs throughout the United States.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Description
  • Male
  • Models, Nursing
  • Nurse Clinicians*
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Nursing Records
  • Physical Examination
  • Rape / diagnosis*
  • Rape / prevention & control