Four Directions of Wellness – Northern Navajo Medical Center Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Room

♪ [opening music] Yá’át’ééh. Welcome to Four
Directions of Wellness.
I’m Roberta Diswood. [introducing Navajo clans] According to the Justice
Department, 1 in 6 women will
experience an attempted or
completed rape in her life. However, sexual assault does
not just include rape. It can be unwanted or
inappropriate touching. Here at Northern Navajo Medical
Center there is now a room
dedicated to helping victims understand
what can done for them after
their assault. With us today is Judy Wolfe, Sexual Assault Care Coordinator
at Shiprock Service Unit, to talk about the new sexual
assault nurse examiner room. Go ahead and tell us about
yourself, Judy. Last month was my 31st year
here at Shiprock. And I worked a year in the
hospital and about 26 years
as a public health nurse. And then the rest of the time,
I’ve been as the Sexual Assault
Care Coordinator. Well, thank you for being here
with us. What is the reason for this
new sexual assault nurse
examiner room? Well, that’s really a good
question, because… before when victims
would come in, they would have to go to
Farmington for an exam. And so there were some issues
with that. If we transported them, we
would have to wait until there
would be… a motor vehicle operator and an
ambulance and I believe a nurse
to be available to go with the victim to Farmington
to Sexual Assault Services. And so now with the room being
here at Northern Navajo
Medical Center, It’s out of the emergency room. It’s away from the
emergency room. It’s in a private room that’s
away from other patients
and visitors. So it’s a real private area. And what’s really nice about
the room is that it’s set-up to
be less clinical looking. We have pictures on the walls
and a comfortable chair for
someone to sit in. And that’s… everyone that comes gets a
comfort blanket. It’s just a little
fleece blanket. Children…
We have teddy bears for them
and other toys. The advocate could paint the
child’s fingernails to distract
them during that time. So it’s really nice to be able
to have the room right here
for people. Also, if someone had their own
transportation, we were never
quite sure if they wouldn’t
change their mind about going. Even though they might say
they’re on their way
to Farmington, They could change their mind. And so here…
By having it here, we can
answer their questions, and have them in a more
comfortable room right here in
Shiprock locally. Well, that’s really good. When a victim comes in,
what is the medical process
that they go through here? Okay. Mostly people come in
through the emergency room. But if they were at a clinic
appointment and disclosed or
told their provider that they
had been assaulted, the same process would happen. Whether they’re in the ER or in
the clinic, their vitals would
have been taken,
their blood pressure, and they’d be checked over for
any kind of medical issues that
would need to be attended
to first. And then Sexual Assault
Services would be called, and the victim would talk to
the nurse on call and kind of try to determine
more about what’s happened. And then, if the victim is
wanting an exam, then what happens is the
advocate comes, and we have
local advocates that have
been trained, and they’ll come.
And then the nurse will come
from Sexual Assault Services to do the exam in the private
room away from the ER
and other clinics. Well, that’s really good,
and that’s really interesting
for people to know. So when they go to the exam
room, what are they covering or
what are they doing? They would receive basically a
head to toe exam. And there’d be pictures taken
of any kind of injury. And they’re measured.
We have special measuring
rulers that would make it
more exact. Pictures. The victim would be interviewed
as to, like, what happened. And the purpose of really the
SANE exam is to provide really
victim focused care. And that the victim isn’t
telling their story in the ER
to a couple different people. You know, once they say that
they’ve been sexually assaulted, nobody is asking them for all
the details until the sexual
assault nurse examiner comes. And then she really does a
really thorough interview, and then a really thorough
head to toe exam. And it takes a while.
Takes several hours. And so if somebody talks about
their assault and maybe they
were raped, are there any sort of things
that are taken care of
medically for them? Yes. Unlike other times if you think
you’ve been exposed to let’s
say a sexually transmitted
disease, We usually like do labs and
send them off. But this way, we just treat… and not wait for positive or
negative results. And also if the person may feel
that they could have been
exposed to HIV or they have any fear
of pregnancy, we have different medications
and counseling and can provide
more information and counseling for that person. So the medications that are
given to the victim, do they help like prevent the
HIV or pregnancy? How does that help the victim? Okay. And again, the victim
always has their choice. You know, they can refuse. They don’t have to have any
medications if they don’t want. We really encourage it though. Like for sexually transmitted
infection, the medications will
treat any potential STIs. HIV. If the patient is
concerned about that, there’s a
regimen that they would take
right away to treat that. And also, if they’re concerned
about pregnancy, we also have
that available for the victim. Now that, you know, they’re
getting all this medication
and everything, it really sounds like things
are all kind of done here at
the hospital for them. Yes, and that’s a real
advantage of having the sexual
assault nurse examiner
room here, because you can get your
medications all here. What you need. We have lab, X-ray if that
were needed. And also, we can make referrals
to Iiná Counseling, medical
social work. So it is kind of like a one
stop shop where we can take
care of people here… and try to also hook them up
with some services that they
might need after the exam. Thank you, Judy, for all that
information, and thank you for
being here today. You’re welcome. This has been Four Directions
of Wellness. Hágoóneé. ♪

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