Providing supportive care for victims of sexual assault 24/7 for forensic examinations, education and support to victims of all ages
The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners or SANE nurses are an integral part of the Gundersen Health System Trauma & Emergency Center (TEC). SANE nurses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide objective forensic evaluation of victims of sexual assault or domestic violence.
Confidential, compassionate care
Gundersen nurse examiners are experienced in working with victims of sexual assault and domestic violence so they understand how traumatic the experience can be. So while our SANE nurses have to be technically skilled evidence collectors they are also compassionate and respectful of the patient's dignity during every step of the examination.
The SANE nurse or other Gundersen medical personnel (TEC physicians or nurses) first assess the victim's need for emergency medical care and treats serious injuries. After the victim's medical condition is stabilized or it's determined that immediate medical care is not needed, the SANE nurse begins an evidentiary exam. During the course of the exam, the nurse examiner:
- Collections medical history
- Interviews the victim about the assault
- Performs the SANE physical exam
- Collects and preserves medical forensic evidence and documents findings
- Provides emotional, mental and physical support for the victim
- Screens for toxin/drugs as necessary
- Provides the victim with preventive medications and counseling for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy as necessary
- Refers the victim for further psychological care
- Works with the victim to create a safe plan
- Provides follow-up and help to begin the healing process
- Connect patient with patient advocate social worker
Evidence can be collect for up to five days after assault, but the sooner the better. If the victim does not want to report assault at the time of the crime, evidence is held at Gundersen Lutheran.
If a court case should result from the report of a sexual assault, the nurse examiner is available to testify as an expert witness. Our SANE nurses are also available to speak to groups and organizations about the prevention of sexual assaults and domestic violence.
What to do if you are sexually assaulted
- Get to a safe place as soon as possible
- Don't blame yourself
- It's important to be seen by medical professionals, such as those at the Gundersen TEC, who can assess your injuries, collect evidence, document the assault and provide you with the support you need
- Do not rinse your mouth, smoke, brush your teeth or have anything to eat or drink until you have been seen by one of our experts
- Do not wipe, wash, douche, bathe or shower until examined by a medical expert
- Report any suspicions that you may have been drugged
- Save (do not wash) the underwear and clothes you were wearing at the time of the assault
- Consider reporting the assault to your local police department
For questions or advice, contact a SANE nurse by calling Gundersen at (608) 775-3128 or (800) 362-9567, ext. 53128 or call our Telephone Nurse Advisor line at (608) 775-4454 or (800) 858-1050. Both are confidential and available 24/7.