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Joanne O'Hare RN, is First Pediatric Sexual Abuse Nurse Examiner in the NEK

October 18, 2012

Joanne O’Hare, RN and Emergency Room Nurse at Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital is the first Pediatric Sexual Abuse Nurse Examiner (SANE) in the NEK; she has been an adult SANE for the past eight years. A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is a registered nurse  who has advanced education and clinical preparation in the forensic examination of sexual assault victims.

O’Hare has been a nurse for 35 years, working in the Intensive Care Unit and the Emergency Department at NVRH for the past 11 years.  The certification allows O’Hare to do exams on children suspected of being sexually abused.  The exams are typically done in the hospital emergency room setting and often are done on an emergency basis.  O’Hare’s training in the Northeast Kingdom means that children may not need to travel to Dartmouth or Burlington to get their exams. 

SANEs ensure that sexual assault victims consistently receive prompt and compassionate emergency care. SANEs are skilled at identifying physical and psychological needs. They ensure that victims will receive appropriate medical care and know what evidence to look for, how to document injuries and other forensic evidence, and provide referrals for subsequent care.
O’Hare’s preceptor is Dr. Karyn Patno, well-known NEK pediatrician and long-time advocate to prevent child abuse.  “Dr. Patno is an amazing source of knowledge for me.  She is meticulous, helpful, and very supportive,” stated O’Hare.  “It’s important that children have a voice, and I can help with that.”

Joanne will continue to participate in the peer review process with Dr. Patno and other SANEs in the state.  This ensures her being up-to-date on exam techniques and child sexual abuse education.  In addition to the work she does at NVRH, she often works with Dr. Patno in her ChildSafe Clinics both in St. Johnsbury and Burlington. 

“Joanne is truly a great addition to the NVRH team and this certification will provide a great service to the community,” said Patno of O’Hare’s certification.