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Online Didactic Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)

Online Didactic SANE Adult/Adolescent Course

Date TBD

Photo of SANE nurse and child

The Program

The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) course provides nurses with the information and skills to properly care for victims of assault (both physical and sexual) by recognizing, collecting and preserving evidence, interviewing the patient and linking them to vital community resources for follow-up.

This course, taught by experts in the areas of forensic nursing, law enforcement and criminal prosecution, emphasizes victim advocacy and the overall importance of being a member of the interdisciplinary Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) in the investigative, health care and prosecution processes.

This course serves as the "classroom" portion of the national certification offered through IAFN (International Association of Forensic Nurses). You will learn the theory, research base, and legal rationales for protocols used by SANEs. You will observe simulated forensic interviews, evidence collection and expert witness testimony.

All training is consistent with the standards of practice as defined by the IAFN.


Contact D'rese Despert at 412.396.5878 or despertd@duq.edu

Course Objectives

Upon completion of the course, participants should be able to:

  1. Describe the roles of various health care, law enforcement and criminal prosecution personnel in working with sexual assault victims.
  2. Begin to establish credibility as an expert witness in testifying in a sexual assault criminal prosecution simulation.
  3. Assess the psychosocial needs of the sexual assault victim and family during the investigative and procedural process.
  4. Demonstrate the rationale for the components of a post-assault forensic interview in a role-playing scenario.
  5. Describe the role of Emergency Treatment Center personnel in evidence collection and treatment protocols.
  6. Describe protocols for the proper collection of evidence from a sexual assault survivor.
  7. Demonstrate proper evidence collection from a patient model.
  8. Discuss victim advocacy services and crime victim compensation for sexual assault survivors.

Program of Study

Module 1

  • Overview/goals for the sexual assault nurse examiner training
  • Overview of the crime (anatomy of a rape)
  • Psychology of offenders - typology, motivation, dynamics
  • Role of the Nurse Examiner
  • History of sexual assault programs
  • Multidisciplinary team concept (Sexual Assault Response Team)
  • Medical advocacy role
  • Community education
  • Implications of victimization
  • Crime Victim Compensation Program 

Module 2

  • Sexual assault forensic interview and kit
  • Overview: forensic examination/evidence collection
  • Collection of evidence - the ER perspective
  • Processing the evidence kit
  • Forensic photography
  • Sex crimes investigation
  • Case examples (nurses in court)

Module 3

  • Victimization across the lifespan
  • Psychiatric and health response to victimization
  • Cultural implications in caring for victims of violence
  • Medical treatment protocols
  • Physical assessment
  • Injury assessment
  • Forensic documentation

Module 4

  • Drug facilitated sexual assault
  • Implications of substance abuse for victim and perpetrator
  • Special circumstances/special victims/disabilities
  • Sexual assault case study
  • Pulling assessment skills together

Module 5

  • Overview of sexual assault training
  • Laws related to rape
  • Roles of SANE’s in the legal system
  • Where do you go from here?

"Presenting Medical Evidence in an Adult Rape Trial" from the National Judicial Education Program (NJEP)


Jodie Flynn, MSN, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, D-ABMD, is a Nursing Instructor at Capital University, School of Natural Science, Nursing, & Health and a Forensic Nurse Examiner in Richland County, Ohio. Her experience includes teaching in both undergraduate and graduate nursing coursework, forensic nursing education, administration, and managing a hospital-based Forensic Nursing Program. Mrs. Flynn is a Registered Nurse in the state of Ohio, Board Certified Adult and Pediatric Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE-A, SANE-P), Medicolegal Death Investigator, and Emergency Department nurse. She is a graduate of The University of Akron, with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and has a Master of Science in Nursing with a Forensic Nursing focus from Duquesne University. She is currently a PhD Nursing student at Duquesne University researching health-related quality of life in adult women, post sexual assault. Her research interests include quality of life, health outcomes, and death investigation.

L.Kathleen Sekula, PhD, PMHCNS, FAAN is a professor at Duquesne University School of Nursing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Sekula has practiced and conducted research in the area of forensic nursing for over 20 years. As an advanced practice psychiatric nurse she sees patients for individual and family therapy. She has been involved in research in the area of violence and women's health. Dr. Sekula developed the graduate programs of forensic nursing at Duquesne University in conjunction with the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law at Duquesne University. She was the project director for two program grants from the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration which focused on developing graduate forensic nursing education.

Technology Requirements

Intel Core i5 processor or higher
4GB memory (8GB recommended)
Cable/DSL broadband connection or better
Headphones or speakers

PC - Microsoft Office 2010 or later
Mac - Microsoft Office 2011 or later

Operating System:
Windows 7, Windows 8 or Mac OS X 10.9 or greater

One of these Internet browsers:
Microsoft® Internet Explorer 11.0 or later
Mozilla Firefox - Automatically Updated Browser
Google Chrome - Automatically Updated Browser
Apple Safari 7.0 or later

You may not be able to view the videos if your computer has a Pop-Up Blocker program or a Firewall installed. You must adjust your security settings to allow pop-up windows and video streaming.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the course work?
Over an eight week period, participants view approximately 40 hours of video plus receive some additional readings. The entire training is broken down into smaller modules of about 6 hours of video per week. Participants are required to post comments or questions about that portion in an online discussion board with other students enrolled in the course. A module is released every week with a week or so in between for catch up time. Once the module is released it can be accessed any time, day or night-24/7, and will remain available throughout the entire course so participants can go back and review certain sections if necessary. There is an exam that is only released for 24 hours each week in the last three weeks of the course.

How long does it take to complete the course?
The program is scheduled to run approximately 8 weeks but if you feel that you need more or less time we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

Do I need to come to campus for any reason?
The course is entirely online - participants do not need to come to campus for any of it.

Is there a required clinical component?
Although, the speculum insertion process is covered as part of the modules, participants will need to get hands-on experience during a preceptored experience. We do not require a clinical component as part of our course. Our course serves as the "classroom" portion of the national certification offered through IAFN. Once the course requirements have been completed, participants will receive a certificate of completion (nursing continuing education).

This course DOES NOT certify you as a SANE. Participants who want to become certified as a SANE-A through the IAFN, need to complete a preceptored experience after completing our course. Please visit the IAFN's website, www.iafn.org, for more information about the national certification requirements, examinations and test dates. If you are interested in becoming a practicing SANE and completing all training requirements through the final IAFN certification exam, please see grant sponsored scholarship opportunity offered through the Duquesne University School of Nursing.

Can I receive continuing education for this course?
Yes. Duquesne University School of Nursing is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the PA State Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

Professionals from other disciplines are invited to participate but at this time we only offer continuing education for nurses.

How often is the course offered?
The online SANE training program is typically offered three times a year.

Continuing Education Unit Award
Duquesne University School of Nursing is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the PA State Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. Full time attendance at the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Training Program (as evidenced by the completion of all modules) will award 55 contact hours. Partial credit will not be awarded for this program.

Registration/Cancellation Policy

Registration fee for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Online Training Program is $599.00 (price subject to change). This registration fee includes the program, materials, technology fee, CEU recording and certificate of completion. If an applicant withdraws registration prior to beginning the course, the registration fee(s), less a handling charge, will be refunded. NO REFUNDS WILL BE MADE AFTER THE FIRST CLASS HAS CONVENED. We reserve the right to cancel the course due to lack of sufficient enrollment. Notification of a cancellation will be made one week prior to the course. In this case the entire registration fee will be refunded.