How Oshkosh Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners are filling a void in care

SANE nurses 2015 010

Brenda is surrounded by her passionate SANE Nurse crew. Front row (L-R) Ambir Dorn, Pam Weiss-Lockhart, Brenda Doolittle, Elizabeth Hoffmann, and Brianna Baeten. Back row (L-R) Lynn Herge, Kelly Nagorny, Jamie Gill, Abby Mikota.

Brenda Doolittle is surrounded by caregivers with a passion to help people. She’s been a Registered Nurse for 18 years, but for the last year she’s also served as the Forensic Program Coordinator for Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh’s SANE program. SANE stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, and while most other health care organizations have eliminated their abuse response programs, Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh has expanded theirs.

“We are getting cases from 80 miles away, people come from all over. Last year we saw 34 patients and by September of this year, we had already seen 65,” Brenda says.

Right now, Brenda has a staff of twelve nurses. That means for the first time ever, they are able to have a SANE nurse on staff 24/7. That’s wonderful news for the kind of care they are able to offer, but it also means Brenda’s staff is stretched pretty thin. There can be a lot of turnover because they also work hours at other locations. They do it because they are truly passionate about helping survivors of abuse.

“It’s important that victims have somewhere to go. If they don’t at least come to us for help, they could be at a high risk for STD’s, getting pregnant, and we also start the counseling process in that very first visit,” Brenda explains. “There is an advocate here for every session, every exam. We need to be available for them; they’re at high risk for anxiety, depression, even suicide.”

That passion to help is why Brenda is so excited about the upcoming Live Well Oshkosh event. All proceeds from the event will go to supporting the SANE program. One way Brenda hopes to use the funds will be to advance the training of her staff.

“There aren’t a lot of people who do what we do, but there are a few events a year that we can attend and be trained by true specialists. It helps us keep up on what’s new in forensics and make sure we are offering the very best care possible,” she says.

Basic RGBYou can help Brenda’s team as they step up to provide this specialized care for so many abuse survivors who have nowhere else to go. You can make a gift or purchase a ticket to the Live Well Oshkosh event. In addition to supporting the SANE program, guests will enjoy a fabulous Farm to Fork dinner with healthy, locally sourced foods. CLICK HERE to purchase a ticket or make a gift!

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