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Sexual Assault Training in Emergency Medicine Residencies: A Survey of Program Directors


Introduction: There is currently no standard forensic medicine training program for emergency medicine residents. In the advent of sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) programs aimed at improving the quality of care for sexual assault victims, it is also unclear how these programs impact emergency medicine (EM) resident forensic medicine training. The purpose of this study was togather information on EM residency programs’ training in the care of sexual assault patients and determine what impact SANE programs may have on the experience of EM resident training from the perspective of residency program directors (PDs).

Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey. The study cohort was all residency PDs from approved EM residency training programs who completed a closed-response self-administered survey electronically.

Results: We sent surveys to 152 PDs, and 71 responded for an overall response rate of 47%. Twenty-two PDs (31%) reported that their residency does not require procedural competency for the sexual assault exam, and 29 (41%) reported their residents are required only to observe sexual assault exam completion to demonstrate competency. Residency PDs were asked how their programs established resident requirements for sexual assault exams. Thirty-seven PDs (52%) did not know how their sexual assault exam requirement was established.

Conclusion: More than half of residency PDs did not know how their sexual assault guidelines were established, and few were based upon recommendations from the literature. There is no clear consensus as to how PDs view the effect of SANE programs on resident competency with the sexual assault exam. This study highlights both a need for increased awareness of EM resident sexual assault education nationally and also a possible need for a training curriculum defining guidelines forEM residents performing sexual assault exams. [West J Emerg Med. 2013;14(5):461–466.]

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