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Nurses receive sexual assault treatment certification

PULLMAN– Two registered nurses with Washington State University Health and Wellness Services recently completed Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) training at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in an effort to enhance the ability of staff to provide the most comprehensive health care to students at WSU.

Sue Purington, RN, and Mary Martin, ARNP, completed the training, bringing WSU Health and Wellness Services’ total number of SANE-certified nurses on staff to five.

The SANE training is part of a national program that provides specialized education and clinical preparation for registered nurses in performing both medical and forensic exams for victims of sexual assault in a prompt and compassionate manner.

SANE-certified nurses document injuries, test for and prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, communicate with law enforcement, collect forensic evidence and provide follow-up counseling services.

The five-day training at Harborview provides both instructive and applied experience for nurses, including films, slides, hands-on practice and guest lectures.

“This program is very intense and extremely well done,” said Mary Steed, a HWS registered nurse who previously attended the training.

According to the Office for Victims of Crime, the SANE program has made a profound difference in the quality of care for sexual assault victims. Some advantages include shorter examination times, less psychological trauma, better forensic evidence collection, improved prosecution and an increase in the number of reported cases.

SANE-trained nurses are available during open clinic hours at Health and Wellness Services for physical exams and evidence collection. HWS also has a Sexual Assault Victims Fund that allows victims to apply for financial assistance for medical fees. Eligible students can receive funding for preventative treatments and medication recommended by a SANE nurse.

It is the goal of HWS to meet the needs of victims in the best way possible. WSU Counseling and Testing Services also offers counseling for victims and an after-hours crisis line at (509) 335-2159.

Additional information on HWS is available at

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