DiversityNursing Blog

Owatonna Hospital nurses trained to handle sexual assault cases

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Dec 21, 2012 @ 03:16 PM


Giving a checkOWATONNA — A new program is now in place at Owatonna Hospital to help people who have been victims of sexual assault.

The hospital has instituted the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program after identifying a need for a sexual assault program to serve Owatonna and surrounding areas.

“There wasn’t a program like this nearby,” said Jody Kaiser, RN, assistant manager for the Emergency Department at Owatonna Hospital, in a news release. “For assault victims, whether physical or emotional, there just wasn’t the option for a trained nurse examiner.”

Four nurses in Owatonna went through a five-day, 40-hour training course through the Sexual Assault Response Service.

“While we don’t see the number of patients the metro area does, it’s important to have a program in place locally,” said Kimberly Glasgow, RN, a trained nurse examiner, in the release. “This program offers patients comfort after a traumatic situation.”

According to Lori Pfeifer, the sexual assault program coordinator for the Crisis Resource Center of Steele County, one in six people will be the victim of a sexual assault at some point.

“That’s Owatonna. That’s Blooming Prairie. That’s everywhere in our vicinity, and that’s men, women, old people, young people and everybody,” Pfeifer said. “(The program) is going to help with gathering evidence for prosecution. It’s going to help with follow-through for victims.”

Pfeifer said the program is very beneficial for the community, and thought it could make a difference for victims to see a medical professional who is trained to handle a sexual assault situation, which may not have always happened in the past.

“Any time someone is in the unfortunate position of being sexually assaulted, they need to be able to go into an ER that’s full of understanding and empathy, and that’s exactly what the nurses are trained to do,” Pfeifer said.

The nurses trained in performing exams with Obstetrics and Gynecology staff and nurse practitioners at Mayo Clinic Health System — Owatonna. The program also received funding from the Owatonna Hospital Auxiliary, which donated $2,500. Thrivent Financial in Owatonna also contributed $500.

The program will receive a digital camera and memory card to document evidence, along with toiletries, underwear, sweat pants and hooded sweatshirts that will be given to victims.

“They don’t have to leave the hospital in a hospital gown,” Pfeifer said. “To be able to give them back something of warmth ... you want to give people their dignity and their privacy back.”

The program is available to anyone over the age of 12. Younger victims are referred to Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota in St. Paul.

Topics: Owatonna Hospital, sexual assault, Mayo Clinic, training

Online nurse training enables long distance learning

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Mon, Dec 10, 2012 @ 03:29 PM

By Dr. Sapna Parikh 


New technology is helping medical professionals learn from each other, even though they're 1,500 miles apart.

A patient has chills and a fever. Students at Columbia University School of Nursing discuss the diagnosis with their classmates. But they also talk to people in a little box--the medical team at a clinic in La Romana in the Dominican Republic.

Norma Hannigan said she got the idea while she was at the clinic last April. Why not discuss medical cases and learn from each other?

"We're a little stronger on the primary care chronic illness end of the spectrum, and they're much stronger on the infectious disease," Hannigan, an assistant professor of clinical nursing.

The students were presented a patient with diabetes and everyone had to figure out how they'd solve it together.

"The way we manage the case here versus the way they would manage the case in the Dominican Republic is very different," Stephanie Paine, a nurse practitioner student, explained.

It was surprising to learn, for example, they almost never do a test called Hemoglobin A1C. It's too expensive, but in the U.S., that test is done for diabetics all the time.

Students can also learn about cultural differences. In Washington Heights, many of the residents are from the Dominican Republic.

"It's a way to improve the way we treat patients," said Dr. Leonel Lerebours, the medical director of La Clinica de Familia in La Romana, Dominican Republic.

Lerebours says they have learned to work with fewer resources.

"We rely more on clinical features than lab," he said.

This is the first long distance webinar, but they say it won't be the last.

"Maybe incorporate more people from the school of public health from the school of medicine," Hannigan suggested.

"It's really good," Martha Yepes said. "We're able to have this exchange, especially with the technology that we have now."

There were, of course, some technical challenges; the connection was slow at times, and it's hard to capture excitement or enthusiasm when you're doing it over the web.

But there were also funny moments. Where what we consider a problem here, La Romana's medical team thinks it's normal.

Topics: learning, student nurse, technology, training, online

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