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Forensic Nurses Week – November 9-13

November 06, 2020

Media Contact:
Jenifer Harris, Communications & Public Affairs Director
Phone: 207-505-4192
Email: jharris@mainehealth.org

BELFAST, Maine — Unfortunately, sexual assault and domestic violence happens. When it does, a core group of specially-trained forensic nurses at LincolnHealth, Pen Bay Medical Center (PBMC) and Waldo County General Hospital (WCGH) stands ready to offer compassionate, non-judgmental care.

We highlight these nurses and the very important work they do as we mark Forensic Nurses Week from November 9-13. Please join us in saluting their commitment to quality, patient-centered care as they address the acute and long-term health consequences for patients impacted by violence.

“Sexual assault and domestic violence are traumatic and life-changing” says Mary Ann Ordelt, a registered nurse at WCGH and coordinator of the forensic nurse examiner program that serves all three hospitals. “It’s important that survivors know they are supported. As forensic nurse examiners, we make sure that survivors who come to the emergency department receive comprehensive forensic medical care.”

To be sure, much of a forensic nurse’s focus is on medical matters. With the patient’s consent, they typically perform a full physical exam, collaborate with physicians to diagnose and treat any injuries, and offer appropriate medications. They may also perform medical forensic exams, collecting evidence that may later be used in court. With empathy and compassion, they also help survivors take the first steps toward emotional and psychological healing.

“We make sure the patient knows that they decide what happens every step of the way,” says Julie LeBlanc, RN, a trained forensic nurse who also serves as a charge nurse in the emergency department at PBMC. “Normally, we might perform a head-to-toe medical exam. We might collect evidence. But if the patient objects at any point, we stop. We offer to call the police, but if they don’t want us to, we don’t. It is critical to what we do as forensic nurses that we respect the patient’s sense of control over what happens to them.”

Says forensic nurse Deb Prescott, RN: “We gently work to build trust from the time they arrive. It requires patience and knowledge of how the brain works under the stress of sexual trauma. My goal is to listen, validate and support my patient during what is perhaps the worst experience of their life.”

The forensic nurse program at LincolnHealth, PBMC and WCGH is one of only two such regional programs in the state. There are currently nine forensic nurses in the program. CHA has been awarded a $500,000 grant by the U.S. Department of Justice to recruit and certify up to 15 forensic nurses across the three hospitals.

For more information about Forensic Nurses, go to www.forensicnurses.org.


If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault or domestic violence, go the emergency departments at LincolnHealth, PBMC or WCGH to receive compassionate and non-judgmental care in a safe environment. We’re here to help. You can also call us at:

Resources

SASSMM (Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine)
www.sassmm.org | 1-800-871-7741

National Sexual Violence Resource Center
www.nsvrc.org | 717-909-0710

Centers for Disease Control
www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence | 800-232-4636

Child Abuse/Neglect (to report)
1-800-452-1999

Adult & Elder Abuse/Neglect (to report)
1-800-624-8404

LincolnHealth Emergency Department
35 Miles Street, Damariscotta
207-563-4521  | lincolnhealthme.org

Pen Bay Medical Center Emergency Department
6 Glen Cove Drive, Rockport
207-301-8315  | pbmc.org

Waldo County General Hospital Emergency Department
118 Northport Avenue, Belfast
207-505-4123  | wcgh.org

About Pen Bay Medical Center
Pen Bay Medical Center is part of MaineHealth, a not-for-profit integrated health system consisting of eight local hospital systems, a comprehensive behavioral healthcare network, diagnostic services, home health agencies, and more than 1,600 employed and independent physicians working together through an Accountable Care Organization. With more than 19,000 employees, MaineHealth is the largest health system in northern New England and provides preventive care, diagnosis and treatment to 1.1 million residents in Maine and New Hampshire. For more information, please visit pbmc.org.

Waldo County General Hospital
Waldo County General Hospital is part of MaineHealth, a not-for-profit integrated health system consisting of eight local hospital systems, a comprehensive behavioral healthcare network, diagnostic services, home health agencies, and more than 1,600 employed and independent physicians working together through an Accountable Care Organization. With more than 22,000 employees, MaineHealth is the largest health system in northern New England and provides preventive care, diagnosis and treatment to 1.1 million residents in Maine and New Hampshire. For more information, please visit wcgh.org.

About LincolnHealth
With campuses in the coastal communities of Boothbay Harbor and Damariscotta, Maine, LincolnHealth is a full-service health care system. LincolnHealth is part of MaineHealth, the largest integrated health system in Maine. With more than 22,000 employees, MaineHealth is the largest health system in northern New England and provides preventive care, diagnosis and treatment to 1.1 million residents in Maine and New Hampshire. 

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