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Developing an Organization That Looks Like Your Community and is Welcoming to all Survivors

In Chapter 5, this Guide discusses the importance of hiring a diverse staff for your SANE program, one that represents the diversity of your community. Since the profession of nursing does not represent the population overall, this may be a difficult goal to achieve. There are real advantages to having a staff who have lived an experience similar to that of the patients they serve. 

In addition to hiring a diverse staff of nurses and other providers, your program can take other steps to make sure the services are welcoming to all patients. Physical environment can determine whether a program feels safe or comfortable for patients. One program in Arizona conducted a blessing ceremony for its examination room to make it more welcoming for Native American survivors. Bathrooms should be unisex to make sure all gender identities are comfortable. Many programs place art work or decorations in examination rooms to make the space feel more comfortable and less institutional for patients. One Children’s Advocacy Center has elaborate murals on the examination room wall that can be used to distract a child during the examination.   

In addition to the physical environment, programs should examine their forms and procedures to make sure they are inclusive and culturally sensitive for all patients. For example, the demographic part of your forms should allow for inclusiveness of all genders. All staff should receive education in cultural competency. This means frequent and regular education about how to meet the needs of a diverse and multicultural population.