Nurses train to care for sexual assault victims

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Nurses from across the state are training this week on how to better care for adults and children who have been sexually assaulted. The five day, 40 hour course is being taught at Ocean Springs Hospital.

Cuts and bruises have been painted on actors to teach nurses how to take pictures of sexual assault victims. Nurse Kimberly Myer is part of this photography class, and she said it's not an easy job.

"What they are teaching us is you do have the correct angle on it and the correct measurements, so that anybody can look at that picture and say, That is on the left arm, or, That is on the right knee," Myer said.

Thirty nurses are taking part in the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners Training. It's educating them on specialized medical care through lectures and hands-on exercises.

"The students also learn interviewing skills, where they are taught to question the patients as they're presented to the emergency room or their clinic," Instructor Shalotta Sharp said. "They also work with a plastic model for speculum insertion, as they will be doing that in the emergency room."

Sharp is one of the main instructors. She said these women need this forensic nursing course because the number of sexual assault cases is steadily rising in the Untied States.

"They have different parts of evidence that is left on their body. Nurses are trained to look for that evidence, look for fibers, look for hairs, and do this is a very timely and very organized fashion."

The training has been a tremendous help to Tina Crosslin.  She works at Ocean Springs Hospital and feels she's better prepared to help those who have been abused.

"They should not go to a facility that can't help and that is what we are here for. That is the oath we took as nurses, care for these patients," she said.

At the end of the training course, the nurses will participate in a mock trial. They will have to testify in court about their patients' conditions when they entered the hospital.

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