North Shore Medical Center recently announced a new program for sexual assault patients that will connect them by video with specially trained nurse experts.

Under the program, nurses at North Shore Medical Center in Salem can connect with expert Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) via live video technology. The examiners, who are located at the National TeleNursing Center at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, can then guide hospital staff, including 16 emergency room nurses who have been trained to participate in the program, through examinations, information gathering and evidence collection.

This program – called teleSANE, will kick off on February 3 and use secure and encrypted video-conferencing equipment to support care for patients.

In addition, the hospital will collaborate closely with local community partners including the YWCA North Shore Rape Crisis Center, Essex County Children’s Advocacy Center and local law enforcement to provide survivors of sexual assault with the full scope of care, support and advocacy.

Sabrina Federico, RN, MSN and Nancy Hassan, RN, MSN, Clinical Nurse Educator at North Shore Medical Center

Run in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, North Shore Medical Center will become the first hospital on the North Shore to adopt this advanced care program.

"This is a vital service that's been missing in Salem and the North Shore region that we're now going to be able to address," said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll. "Meeting victims where they are at the most critical timeframe with trained nurses and the use of technology is something we've needed for a long time and are finally going to have in place."

Sabrina Federico, RN, MSN, Executive Director of Emergency Services at North Shore Medical Center, said few hospitals have staff on-site who are rigorously trained as sexual assault nurse examiners and can provide expertise in collecting physical evidence from victims. She said the evidence must be collected "very carefully and in a timely fashion" in order to be admissible in the prosecution of sexual assault perpetrators.

According to Federico, this program will enable sexual assault patients on the North Shore to have access to expert care in their own community "where they can heal in a familiar and supportive environment."

Pictured above left, left to right: Joan Meunier-Sham, RN, Director, Massachusetts SANE Program, DPH; Randi Petricone, NP, Associate Director, National TeleNursing Center, DPH; David Roberts, MD, NSMC President; Sabrina Federico, RN, MSN; Phillip Rice, Jr., MD, NSMC’s Chair of Emergency Medicine and Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll.

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