As sexual assault rates rise, provinces face shortages of specially trained nurses – CTV

Feb. 3, 2023

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – As rates of sexual assault climb across Canada, nursing experts say there is a shortage of specially trained forensic nurses to properly care for victims.
Timely care from a well-trained forensic nurse can help stave off a cascade of post-traumatic effects, including depression, anxiety and even suicide, said Sheila Early, president of the Canadian Forensic Nurses Association.

“I always thought that as an emergency nurse, what I did was I put Band-Aids on these individuals. But as a forensic nurse, I helped them make that first step to whatever recovery that will come,” Early said in a recent interview.

Sexual assault nurse examiners are forensic nurses trained to collect evidence from sexual assault and domestic violence victims, and to help them cope with trauma. They can also be called to testify in court. Their expertise requires hours of dedicated training — at least 60 hours in Nova Scotia, plus observation training in a gynecological practice, said Martha Paynter, an assistant nursing professor at the University of New Brunswick.

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