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West Central Minnesota nurses to receive training in caring for sexual assault victims

WILLMAR — Beginning Tuesday, registered nurses from several area hospitals will begin advanced training in forensic evidence collection in cases of sexual assault.

The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program is a 40-hour certification course on evidence collection and how to be an expert witness in court. The students will be nine nurses from Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar and eight nurses from the Douglas County Hospital, Renville County Hospital and Paynesville Area Health Care System.

Certified nurses will be called in to care for sexual assault victims in the hospitals’ emergency departments. They will be able to provide support for the patients while they are in an emergency department and reduce the amount of time patients spend there.

“Providing excellent, quality care to every patient who comes to our Emergency Department is our priority,” June Boie, Rice’s director of emergency services, said in a news release. “We know that each patient has unique needs. Patients who come to Rice Hospital after a sexual assault are no exception.”

Safe Avenues, Rice Hospital, Willmar Police Department and the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s and Attorney’s offices are collaborating on the program for Kandiyohi County and surrounding areas.

Assistant Kandiyohi County Attorney Stephen Wentzell will be handling part of the training. “The SANE program provides nurses with background on legal issues involving sexual assault and courtroom procedure so they are more comfortable in testifying in legal proceedings in their area of expertise,” he said in the release. “We will be running mock trials to show them what they can expect if they are called on to testify.”

The SANE training is funded through the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Justice Programs – Crime Victim Services; Violence Against Women Act STOP Special Projects 2013 Grant.

—Linda Vanderwerf

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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