In recent months, a growing amount of national attention has been given
to survivors of sexual assault. To further meet the needs of local individuals
impacted by this type of violence, Mile Bluff’s Emergency Department
has developed a sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) program.
The role of a SANE includes evaluating and treating patients with a holistic
approach. These nurses are specially trained to provide culturally-sensitive,
developmentally-appropriate, trauma-informed, patient-specific evaluation
and treatment. They gather medical history, as well as a history of the
assault, with a proper understanding of the medical and legal consequences
of both. It is a very specialized role that is unfortunately needed far
“In the past, when patients came to us following a sexual assault,
we would have to refer them to a SANE program at a facility an hour away,”
said Sharon Warden, Director of Mile Bluff’s Emergency Department.
“Knowing that we had to send patients an hour away during such a
vulnerable time was difficult. With the SANE program starting in Mauston
in 2019, we will be able to treat individuals in a much more timely, comforting
and supportive manner.”
Sharon continued, “Having a SANE program means that we have forensic
specialists on staff who are highly trained in specimen collection and
protection of the chain of collection handling. The nurses are also trained
to be prepared for testifying in court regarding the exam and condition
of patients, if needed.”
One of Mile Bluff’s emergency nurses has already earned her SANE
certification. She completed and passed the training that covered forensic
nursing and sexual violence. In February, three additional nurses will
begin their training.
“We do not know how the lack of a SANE program impacted the number
of unreported and untreated sexual assaults in the county,” explained
Sharon. “But we do know that our SANE program creates a safe, caring,
local place for survivors of sexual assault to turn. We’re confident
that having this program at Mile Bluff will make a difference in our community.”
Anyone who experiences a sexual assault can come immediately and directly
to Mile Bluff’s Emergency Department. The staff is trained to be
mindful of both the immediate and the long-term impacts of sexual violence.
Individuals will be cared for with dignity, confidentiality and excellence.
If you would like more information about the SANE program, please contact
Sharon at 608-847-6161.