Rogers, Ark (KNWA/KFTA) – Mercy teams up with multiple organizations to help survivors of sexual abuse and assault.
Hundreds of exams for victims of sexual assault have already been completed in Northwest Arkansas this year. The NWA Center for Sexual Assault helps in a lot of those cases.
“We provide forensic rape kit examinations for adult survivors of sexual assault,” NWA Center for Sexual Assault Executive Director Brandon Pettit said.
It is one of many groups in Northwest Arkansas serving a similar purpose.
“The CAC of Benton County and the Children’s Safety Center of Washington County, and then the Northwest Arkansas Center for Sexual Assault,” Northwest Arkansas Regional SANE Coordinator Kacie Parrish said.
With that common goal, Mercy of Northwest Arkansas wanted to play its part. So through a unique partnership, the hospital is providing a new position that helps with all of those organizations.
“Some days we’re really busy and you can see 1-5 clients in a day,” Parrish said.
These facilities typically use contract nurses; someone who is on call when needed but is otherwise likely working a full-time job somewhere else. It is a lot of responsibility for nurses working multiple jobs. So Mercy created Parrish’s position.
“I’ll get the opportunity to be like, “Okay, what’s it look like to add strangulation exams to the services that we offer and how do I supplement these nurses’ training,” she explained.
Mercy created her position to help coordinate schedules, training and recruitment of all of the SANE nurses.
“To partner this way with the three centers really gets at the heart of our mission and it also continues to fulfill the legacy of Catherine Mcauley and the sisters of Mercy to be able to care for children,” NWA Mercy VP of Mission and Ethics Chad Raith said.
Pettit said it is making a big difference.
“Time is of the essence when it comes to performing a sexual assault examination and it allows us to expedite those by having coordination,” Pettit said.
It is providing a quick response while confident the nurses are all up-to-date with the latest training.
“It makes a big difference and we want our survivors to be able to experience the best practice when it comes to the services that they receive,” Pettit said.