Specialized Nurses Trained at Georgia College Fill Gap in State Trauma Care

Staff Report

Monday, May 23rd, 2022

More than 100 Georgia nurses received extra training in the last three years to conduct forensic medical exams and provide trauma-informed care—thanks to a $803,000 grant that’s now ending.
The nurses are now certificate-licensed and working across Georgia as Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs). They fill a vital gap in a state with more victims of sexual assault and abuse than nurses trained to care for them.

“Georgia College offering clinical training is what really targets the biggest gap we have in Georgia,” said Sarah Pederson, statewide SANE coordinator. “Empowering that patient in the moment of care is critical, because their power was just taken from them.”
The grant provided a series of free 12-week courses, coupled with three-days a week immersion in clinical experience. The program was designed to teach nurses across Georgia about state law, courtroom testimony, sexual assault exams and forensic nursing skills, like photography and documentation.
Nurses were trained at Georgia College’s nursing simulation lab at Navicent Health Baldwin. They learned to properly collect samples and work within multi-disciplinary justice teams. They studied courtroom testimonies, perpetrator methods like strangulation, how to take forensic photos and identification of wounds.
Because of its importance, Georgia College will continue to offer the SANE course at cost, until more funding is secured.