SANE-A-PALOOZA: A Clinical Immersion Experience to Close the Gap for New Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners

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Background: Traditional educational methods for new sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) have had a gap in time between didactic instruction and the application to forensic nursing practice. In this interval, which can take several months, SANE trainees must locate a preceptor and perform at least 10 pelvic examinations. Only then can they apply their didactic knowledge and pelvic examination skills to actual patients presenting for forensic examinations. In 2011, Kansas City educators developed SANE-A-PALOOZA, a program that eliminated this gap, facilitated a unified educational experience, and ensured rapid integration of knowledge and skills. Objectives: The aims of this study were to briefly describe an educational method for SANEs based on adult learning principles and constructivist learning theory and to provide preliminary quantitative evaluation data, which are limited in contemporary literature. Methods: Immediately after the formal 40-hour didactic educational experience, trainees took part in an 8-hour SANE-A-PALOOZA, a clinically focused continuing education course that included standardized pelvic examination patients, skills immersion experience with advanced practice nurses and experienced sexual assault nurses, and a hands-on practicum with a crime scene photographer. Each of the 44 trainees performed 8–10 female pelvic and two male genital examinations on standardized patients and took forensic genital photographs in three of those examinations. Participants completed a variety of preevaluation and postevaluation instruments, including knowledge, clinical skills checklists, and confidence measures. Results: SANE-A-PALOOZA participants’ self-evaluations indicate high satisfaction with the educational program. Pretest/posttest scores indicate increased comfort, competence, and confidence after this immersion practicum. Conclusion: Skills education via a hands-on immersion experience can address the gap between didactic and hands-on clinical experience for SANEs.

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