Can I be a SANE?

Specialties Forensic


Hello. I was wondering if people who have experienced continuous sexual abuse in the distant past can become SANEs?

It might sound odd but the more informed and helpful to these people I am the less I feel like a victim. I have no doubt I can be truly objective in any professional setting. (Just to let you know that is not what I`m conserned with.) I need to know if having those type of experiences in my past would be an issue for me in this line of work. I have found a story of a nurse who was raped before deciding to become one of New York`s best SANEs but nothing about longer term child sexual abuse. I understand that the affects are different.

Just for clarity`s sake this happened a long time ago and actually I don`t remember most of it. Please also understand that I have tried my best to research this on my own but with no success. I would be lying if I said I don`t feel awkward writing this post but I really want to know if I should be pursue being a SANE before hand. I would appreciate advice on this subject.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

1 Article; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.


I am so sorry this happened to you ((HUGS))

There should be absolutely no reason that you couldn't become a SANE nurse. As long as you are objective....many people pursue certain paths based on past personal experience. I am giving you a link to the MA application process so you can see an example .

Training and Application Process

Specializes in Critical Care, Education.

Your background makes you uniquely qualified to connect with patients due to your personal understanding of their trauma. However, working with victims of SA may also engender unexpected reactions by triggering long-suppressed memories. It may be wise to consult a qualified professional first... to prepared just in case.

Thank you both for your encouraging advice. I feel more confident moving forward now. I appreciate the link and the hugs esme12. Thank you HouTx for the warning me about suppressed memories. It means a lot to me to help these people. It a hard thing to go through. Thank you both so much. I know it is a bit early but Merry Christmas and God bless.

Of course you can :) Understandable question though!

I've been a psych nurse most of my career, and I was really 'good' at it per peer and manager feedback. I knew why -- my father was a nightmare. I could compartmentalize like a champ, and remain clinical and caring, even compassionate, during traumatic take-downs or extreme violence. What will make you an excellent forensic nurse is ALSO what will burn you out.

My biggest challenge as a nurse has been what they now call 'compassion fatigue'. It's very different than 'burn out'. Your insight into yourself, all the work you've done on yourself, has to be constantly refreshed, renewed, and sometimes you'll check yourself into therapy. Symptoms may come up in you that seem to have nothing to do with past trauma or what's going on at work. See, this is true for EVERYONE, but those of us with fully acknowledged past trauma have a leg up and 'alert' to our own symptoms earlier.

Just about everywhere I've worked, nurses have very self-defeating beliefs about themselves. Nurses wear secret Superman capes, and dread other nurses finding out they aren't 'perfect', never cry when a patient dies or calls them names, they just sail in and rescue the day and, unaffected, sail out :) . My last position was rife with nurses wearing Superman capes, and it was an oncology floor and the place to send all dying patients. Nurse's would gossip about that one nurse who always cries when her patient dies! The very idea! So much unnecessary shaming, and such impossible expectations of themselves! It's no joke that two in five nurses abuse substances. One particular Supernurse admitted she drank a bottle of wine after work every night after she quit and got on an SSRI. She was an exemplary nurse, a real example for everyone.

Didn't mean to go on so long, but just to underscore that there are risks for EVERYONE who works in nursing, simply because of what it takes to do your job compassionately.

2 out of 5?! That is scary. I can understand that nurses need to keep their emotions in check at work. But that is totally different than being emotionless at work... just to go home and fall apart after each shift. That is too high a price to pay for being "supernurse".

Thanks Gooselady for reminding me I don't have to be 'perfect'; I would never make the cut. Merry Christmas and God bless.


2 Posts

Hey FutureForensicN

I'm just wondering how this all worked out for you? I have had a similar childhood experience and am also extremely interested in becoming a SANE. I will graduate with my BSN in December and was hoping to get some advice on the pathway to becoming a SANE nurse.


Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X