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The Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing is working to train more nurses certified to provide specialized care to victims of sexual assault
U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) applauded the work of the Texas A&M Health Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing Thursday morning during a roundtable discussion on the importance of sexual assault nurse examiners, or SANEs.
Cornyn championed a bi-partisan effort to pass the Supporting Access to Nurse Exams (SANE) Act, which became law earlier this year as part of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act. The SANE Act improves an existing federal grant program to fund the training of SANEs.
Cornyn joined Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, experts from the center and other panel members at Texas A&M Health’s Clinical Learning Resource Center in Round Rock, Texas, to highlight the essential role of SANEs in Texas and nationally. These specially trained nurses provide trauma-informed care to victims of sexual assault and preserve important evidence that meets requirements for use in prosecution.
Since its creation in the Texas A&M School of Nursing in 2019, the center has provided SANE education for 1,000 registered nurses in nearly 100 courses. Through telemedicine technology developed by Texas A&M called Tex-TRAC, the center also connects health providers in rural areas of Texas with SANEs located in the School of Nursing to conduct forensic nurse exams with victims of sexual assault.
“One of the great assets of A&M’s program is the telehealth aspect of it,” said Cornyn during Thursday’s post-roundtable news conference. “This means that no matter where you live in the state of Texas, you can get access to one of these highly-trained, certified sexual assault nurse examiners and go through a compassionate examination and collection of evidence for a court case.”
The center, which is supported by state and federal grants, has grown through relationships with community, state and national partners. The center often works with district attorney’s offices to help prosecute sexual assault cases, and the Texas Office of the Attorney General partners exclusively with the Center to develop and maintain the state’s sexual assault evidence collection protocol.
“This is a real point of pride, not just for the Texas A&M System, but for the state of Texas,” said Sharp.
Following Thursday’s roundtable, Cornyn and Sharp toured the Clinical Learning Resource Center where the center provides virtual and simulated training opportunities for nurses working toward SANE certification.
“Our goal is to improve the health outcomes of those affected by violence,” said Stacey Mitchell, DNP, MBA, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, DF-AFN, FAAN, who oversees the center and moderated Thursday’s roundtable. “We also want to advance forensic nursing and build and help create the leaders of the future in forensic nursing here in the state and elsewhere.”
Thursday’s roundtable included the following panelists:
- U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas)
- John Sharp, Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System
- Nancy Fahrenwald, PhD, RN, PHNA-BC, FAAN, dean of the Texas A&M School of Nursing
- Stacey Mitchell, DNP, MBA, MED, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, DF-AFN, FAAN, clinical professor and director of the Texas A&M Health Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing, Texas A&M School of Nursing
- Laurie Charles, MSN, RN, CA-CPSANE, SANE-A, SANE-P, CHSE, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M School of Nursing
- Heather Tatom, sexual assault survivor and advocate
- Rose Luna, CEO of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault
- Lindsay Richards, assistant district attorney for Williamson County
To learn more about the Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing, visit forensic-nursing.tamu.edu.
Media contact: Dee Dee Grays, firstname.lastname@example.org, 979.436.0611