Providing a Regional Network for Training

Our evidence-based, best-practice program is also considered the hub of a regional network of forensic specialists and serves as a training center for a large number of Virginia nurses. As a regional training center, the program has hosted nationally recognized Forensic Nurse Examiner and Pediatric Forensic Nurse Examiner trainings for more than 1,000 nurses from across the United States and seven foreign countries. The training for both adult/adolescent and pediatric courses includes a 40-hour didactic course with approximately 250 clinical hours. Courses are taught by St. Mary’s Forensic Nurse Examiner program staff, the program’s medical director and program coordinator, as well as investigators in the Violent Crimes Unit of the Virginia State Police, experts from the Virginia Department of Forensic Science, the director of a local patient support program, and even local attorneys. As a result, a number of hospitals have replicated our program in their communities, including Riverside Regional Hospital (Newport News, Va.), Mary Washington (Fredericksburg, Va.); Lewis Gale Medical Center (Salem, Va.), and Mission Hospital (Asheville, NC).

Dr. Billy LennarzCollaborative community partnerships for St. Mary’s Forensic Nurse Examiner program – from small domestic violence shelters such as Hanover Safe Place to large organizations like the Commonwealth Attorney’s office – are our champions in the community, willingly sharing a wealth of knowledge, experience and wisdom. One example of a strong partnership we’ve forged is the development of the Regional Hospital Accompaniment Response Team (RHART), an alliance of representatives from St. Mary’s, Hanover Safe Place, Safe Harbor and the YWCA that serves as an advocacy program for people who have experienced domestic and sexual violence. These trained volunteer advocates assist victims with emotional support during the hospital visit and follow-up referrals and information, including counseling, intervention, advocacy and resources.

Stacie FrancisCurrently, there is no other program in the Commonwealth of Virginia that is a collaboration of multiple different agencies and a hospital to serve this patient population across multiple jurisdictions. Since the program started in November 2009, RHART has served more than 600 patients and was recently honored with a Richmond History Makers Award, an annual program that recognizes and celebrates everyday citizens and outstanding organizations making significant contributions in our region.

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For more information or to make a gift, please contact:

Angie Dempsey
Senior Development Officer
Bon Secours Richmond Health Care Foundation
5008 Monument Avenue, 2nd Floor
Richmond, VA 23230
804-594-4706