The Emergency Nurses Association presented the forensic nurse examiners of Christiana Care Health System with the 2013 Forensic Nurse Examiner Team Award at its annual conference in Nashville, Tenn., this fall. The association recognized the Christiana Care team for its “commitment to excellence and dedication to advancing emergency nursing and to ensuring safe practice and safe care.”
Christiana Care has one of the few emergency departments in the U.S. with a forensic nurse on staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week — and the only one in Delaware. In 2012, the team treated more than 2,000 patients, said Program Coordinator Anita Symonds, RN, MS.
University of Louisville Emergency Medicine Professor William Smock, M.D., a nationally recognized ballistics expert who trained the team in identifying the entrance and exit of gunshot wounds, has called the program “the model for the country.”
Comprehensive services include diagnosis, evidence collection and treatment for domestic violence, sexual assault in adults and children, child and elder abuse and neglect, and forensic evidence collection and photo documentation for trauma, said Linda Laskowski Jones, MS, APRN, ACNS-BC, CEN, Christiana Care’s vice president of emergency and trauma services.
Established in 1996 as sexual assault nurse examiners (or SANE), the team “has embraced every challenge,” said Jones.
Each of the team’s 19 members has completed 80 classroom hours, plus on-the-job training and 100 hours of ride-alongs with police and fire marshals.
“This award,” said Symonds, “recognizes our dedicated nurses who go above and beyond in emergency nursing care — studying the newest trends in evidence collection, keeping up with laws and testifying in court as expert witnesses.”