Forensic Nurse Examiners honored with National Crime Victims’ Rights Service Award

Forensic Nurse Examiners honored with National Crime Victims’ Rights Service Award

The U.S. Department of Justice recognized Christiana Care Health System’s Forensic Nurse Examiner program for providing emergency care to thousands of crime victims and forensic expertise at trials across the country, during the National Crime Victims’ Rights Service Awards ceremony, Wed., April 9, in Washington, D.C.

“Through their courage and critical contributions to assist and empower victims, these individuals and organizations have given hope to countless Americans victimized by crime — even under the most difficult circumstances,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder about the award winners. “I am proud to recognize these extraordinary advocates by celebrating their achievements and assure them that the Department of Justice is more determined than ever to help ensure their continued success.”

Christiana Care’s Forensic Nurse Examiners team received the Allied Professional Award for providing physical and emotional care to victims of crime while collecting and preserving evidence.

This is the second national award for Christiana Care’s Forensic Nurse Examiners in less than a year. The Emergency Nurses Association honored Christiana Care’s Forensic Nurse Examiners with its 2013 Team Award in Nashville, Tenn.

Christiana Care’s forensic nursing program started in 1996 as the SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) team. Over the years, the team’s focus expanded to include victims of domestic violence, child and elder abuse, traumas such as gunshots, stabbings and other major assaults, pedestrians struck by cars, and fire victims.

Today, Christiana Care’s team consists of one physician medical director and 24 nurses. Their forensic expertise covers elder, dependent adult and child abuse and neglect, intimate partner violence, strangulation and major trauma involving accidents, assaults, stabbings and gunshot wounds. Last year, they provided forensic services to 1,963 patients.

Their program is at the forefront of a national trend to equip emergency nurses with forensics skills. It has been called “the most sophisticated and advanced in the country” by William Smock, M.D., of Louisville, Ky., a nationally recognized expert in gunshot wounds.

The Forensic Nurse Examiners program is supported by a nearly $22,000 gift from the Junior Board of Christiana Care and a $15,000 gift from Verizon Delaware.