Grant Application

Karin Wickwire, DNP, AG-ACNP, SANE-A, SANE-P, UPMC Hamot

Proposed Innovation

Each year, forensic nurses at UPMC Hamot care for hundreds of victims of violence — the majority of them sexual assaults. Specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) play a vital role in collecting and preserving forensic evidence, as well as providing emotional support to patients. Having the right forensic equipment and training is key to documenting and identifying injuries.

This project will provide UPMC Hamot’s SANE nurses with the latest technology in photography and injury identification along with a lifelike simulator that will enhance their skills and quality of patient care.

Improvements in Action

A specialized colposcope will be purchased for SANE nurses to use when conducting sexual assault forensic exams. Equipped with a camera, the colposcope is able to identify and photograph genital injuries not readily visible to the eye. The advanced video and photo technology involved means that only one examination — and one examiner — is needed. Photos and videos can be viewed later during the legal process without the victim being present.

In addition, an advanced pelvic model will be purchased for use in training SANE nurses. The model will provide a realistic simulation of the female pelvis for practicing pelvic exams, including using a speculum, navigating challenging anatomy, and identifying injuries.

Intended Outcomes

Forensic nurses are considered experts in the legal system, so training and preparation is paramount. This project, will enhance their training, helping SANE nurses to feel more comfortable and confident in conducting exams. Having specialized technology and well-trained nurses also will benefit victims and ensure they are not re-traumatized.