A new training program in Idaho Falls helps prepare nurses to properly examine sexual assault victims at their clinics.
The Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center held its first class to train nurses on how to treat and examine sexual assault victims in May. The center became the nation’s 12th clinical training location to be approved by the International Association of Forensic Nurses and the only one in the country that is further west than Dallas.
Kara Boll, a licensed nurse practitioner and forensic nurse, led the first set of classes at the center for eight nurses from eastern Idaho. She said the limited number of classes was an effect of the broader nursing shortage — there are fewer nurses being trained in general, let alone people who want to specialize in sexual assault cases.
“We are so fortunate to have nurses in the area who want to take part in this program and were willing to help get it together,” Boll said.
Nurses can be certified as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner from the international group after taking a few weeks of online courses. This means that nurses who cannot attend the optional clinical training sessions often don’t get firsthand experience with treatment until a victim comes into the clinic for the first time.
Classes also can be helpful to nurses in rural areas of the state, who may go a long time between examining assault victims and don’t want to forget their training when a case arises.
Boll’s class doesn’t practice on actual victims. Instead, the center brings in medical actors and clinical assistants who are screened and trained to go through two days of gynecological examinations from the trainees.
“They simulate the role of the victim and can give live, real-time feedback to the nurses in the class,” Boll said.
Clinical skills classes at the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center are $400, with all the money going back to the center to help them break even on hosting the lessons. The second classes are scheduled to start Oct. 4, which Boll said had already had nurses from as far away as Arizona registering.