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Increasing Access, Recruitment and Retention of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners

NOTE: This is the page for licensed nurses in Michigan looking to become SANE trained. If you are an MSU patient seeking care from the Sexual Assault Healthcare Program, click here.

Sexual violence remains widespread in the United States with 1 in 5 women, 1 in 14 men, and 1 in 2 transgender individuals experiencing attempted or completed rape during their lifetime (James et al., 2015; Smith et al., 2017). In the aftermath of an assault, survivors often struggle with knowing where they should go for help; moreover, if they do seek help, they are often directed to healthcare systems that are not designed to be meet their needs. Prior research has found that victims often experience ‘secondary victimization’ in their interactions with healthcare and legal systems, namely negative, victim-blaming interactions which exacerbate trauma symptoms and worsen health outcomes (Campbell et al., 2009). Adult/adolescent Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) can help to potential prevent secondary victimization for survivors and improve quality of care due to their specialized training in trauma-informed, victim-centered treatment (Patterson et al., 2019).

The Michigan State University College of Nursing has been awarded funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support education and certification of nurses interested in becoming SANEs in Michigan.  The purpose of the project is to increase the number, accessibility, and sustainability of adult/adolescent SANEs in underserved, rural areas of Michigan.  These aims will be achieved by:

  1. Recruiting and funding nurses to complete SANE training
  2. Re-engaging nurses who previously participated in SANE didactic training but did not complete certification
  3. Identifying community barriers to sustainability of SANE practice

Campbell, R., Dworkin, E., & Cabral, G. (2009). An ecological model of the impact of sexual assault on women’s mental health. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse, 10(3), 225-246.

James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The report of the 2015 U.S. transgender survey. National Center for Transgender Equality.

Patterson, D., Campbell, R., & Markowitz, J. (2019). Evaluating the effectiveness of sexual assault nurse examiners. In L.E. Ledray, A.W. Burgess, & A.P. Giardino (Eds.) Medical response to adult sexual assault: A resource for clinicians and related professionals (2nd edition) (pp. 479-494). SMT Learning.

Smith, S. G., Chen, J., Basile, K. C., Gilbert, L. K., Merrick, M. T., Patel, N., Walling, M.,& Jain, A. (2017). The national intimate partner and sexual violence survey


Application Information

Interested participants can find the links to the different applications below.  The applicant should select the application that best fits their current status in their SANE-A training and certification journey.

Registered Nurses and Advanced Practice RNs who have not yet received SANE education or training:


Registered Nurses and Advanced Practice RNs who are looking to attend a clinical skills workshop after completing an IAFN approved 40-hour didactic SANE course: 


Registered Nurses and Advanced Practice RNs who are looking to gain practice hours as a SANE to meet requirements for certification:


Registered Nurses and Advanced Practice RNs who have met all requirements to sit for the SANE-A Certification Exam and are seeking assistance to prepare for or take exam:



Educational Component

The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Training Program

This 12-week on-line course is the first step of an educational opportunity offered by MSU College of Nursing developed to expand access to Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) for Michigan patients presenting with a complaint of sexual violence.

Nurses who successfully complete the 12-week on-line course through registration, participation, and evaluation will be awarded 40 nursing professional development contact hours.

  • Upon successful completion of the on-line education component, nurses will advance to the next steps of SANE training including a clinical skills training workshop with validation on campus in East Lansing, MI and assistance with an individualized plan to obtain practice hours required to prepare for the certification exam.  
  • An opportunity to participate in an evaluation component to improve understanding of the challenges and needs of nurses on the SANE certification journey is included. 
  • There is no cost to participants for educational activities and travel. 

Schedule of Events:

Cohort 11

Online Didactic Training | Sept. 3 – Nov. 24, 2024

*Clinical Skills Workshop | Dec. 5-6, 2024

IAFN Baskerville Medallion_Orange_HighRez.jpg

Funding Statement

This program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,431,912 with no financing from non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government.

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