Georgia Southern nursing students learning how to complete sexual assault exams

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 6:01 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A new Georgia Southern program could be life changing for many.

The university is training students on how to better serve sexual assault victims.

In simulation rooms, Georgia Southern nursing students are learning how to do sexual assault nurse examinations to fill a critical void in our community.

“There are 26 certified sexual assault nurse examiners in the state of Georgia. We don’t have enough.”

That’s according to assistant professor Kari Mau, who says surviving sexual assault has life time effects.

“It affects their long term health and their long term outcomes.”

On top of that, she says a shortage of certified sexual assault examiners means some victims have to wait a longer time to be seen.

“Also, it puts an undue burden on our emergency rooms and urgent cares. They’re seen by providers simply just don’t have the knowledge to provide the exam. Not by their own fault, they just were never trained in it,” Georgia Southern Professor Kari Mau said.

Which is one reason for the new program.

Maui says It’s a 40-hour summer training for graduate students. This summer they learned not only about collecting specimen but also heard from guest speakers like police, a district attorney and a nurse from the Teal House in Statesboro.

“They felt like they just had more knowledge. They felt better prepared to provide care to patients and they would be able to address patient’s concerns more objectively, get the data that they needed and then get them into resources.”

Mau says this is the only program like it in South Georgia. She believes it’s vital especially because tourism and all the travelers on I-95 play a large role in increased sexual assaults in our region.

“It happens much more often. We just don’t do a good job of recognizing it. That’s why we really felt this program was important.”

The program is for graduate nursing students now, but Mau says they hope to expand it to undergraduate students. She says it was paid for with a grant sponsored Georgia Southern alumni, meaning the training and housing was free for students this summer.