SUSAN CHASSON, STATEWIDE COORDINATOR, UTAH COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT: The worst thing about surviving a sexual assault is the loss of control. And one of the things we do first with our patient-centered care is give that patient back some control over their life.
MEGHAN LECHNER, DIRECTOR, THE COLORADO SANE/SAFE PROGRAM: Patient-centered care is exactly what it sounds like, so it's just really putting the patient first, understanding that they are the priority, and understanding what their needs are to be able to move through the exam and get them the care that they need.
SHERONDA JORDAN, FORMER FORENSIC EXAMINER COORDINATOR, SOUTHERN ARIZONA CENTER AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT: I think of meeting the patient where they are, seeing them as a unique person coming in receiving care.
MEGHAN LECHNER: I've had patients who will say to me, “Just don't tell me what you're doing, just hurry up, let's do it, and get it over with.” And I've had patients who want to move very slowly and take breaks and want to know everything that's going on. It's really patient-dependent. I want to know what's most important to them at the beginning. Is it that they're injured, that they're in pain? Is it that they're worried about pregnancy or disease? Are they worried about their safety— what's gonna happen if they do or don't report.
ASHLEY KLASS, FORENSIC NURSE EXAMINER, COUTHERN ARIZONA CENTER AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT: Sometimes they'll say, “I'm worried that I'm bleeding too much,” but most of the time it's something like, “My dog has been locked outside for 16 hours, it's getting dark, and the coyotes are coming out soon.”
SUSAN CHASSON: They may need something like child care or they may be due at work in a couple of hours.
MEGHAN LECHNER: If it's that they're anxious and they want to smoke a cigarette, they need a break, then that's what we do.
CHRISTINE CAMPBEL, SANE, PHILADELPHIA SEXUAL ASSAAULT RESPONSE CENTER: It's recognizing that the woman doesn't need to sit in wet clothing, that they can get into a gown.
KAREN DOUGHERTY, SANE, PHILADELPHIA SEXUAL ASSAULT RESPONSE CENTER: Maybe they haven't slept all night so, you know, I offer them coffee, crackers, whatever they want. So let me know if anything hurts.
SUSAN CHASSON: I typically have teenage patients texting on their phone during the exam, and that's absolutely okay.
MEGHAN LECHNER: We try to make our exam room as comfortable as possible, you know, with different colors, and pictures, and window stains, things like that, to make it a little less clinical feeling.
ASHLEY KLASS: What I might do is take a couple of pictures of this bruise back here. Is that okay?
ASHLEY KLASS: Okay.
JENNIFER PIERCE-WEEKS, INTERIM CEO, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FORENSIC NURSES: The patient is always part of the equation in deciding what health care is delivered, whether or not evidence collection takes place. Care should never happen absent the patient having some say about what they want and how they want to be involved in that care.
MEGHAN LECHNER: When patients leave here and they feel better about having come in and do the exam and you can just see the sense of relief on their face, I mean, that's huge. I've done my job. That's how I feel, I've done my job. You've provided that patient with not only the health care that they needed but also the support and the therapeutic communication that begins their healing process.
SUSAN CHASSON: It's very easy to get so caught up in what you're trying to achieve that you forget you're taking care of a human being and a patient. And it's so important to do that if you want the patient's outcomes to be the best they can be.