Deborah Flowers | 2022 National Crime Victims' Service Awards
Deborah “Deb” Flowers, MSN, RN,CPNP, SANE-A, SANE-P, has been a beacon for survivors and a mentor to countless nurses and professionals across the State of North Carolina and beyond. She urges nurses to meet the complex medical-forensic, evidentiary, and mental health needs of all their patients. By sharing her knowledge through mentorship, Ms. Flowers has made a major difference in the lives of the victims she and her mentees encounter.
Deborah Flowers received the Allied Professional Award. Visit the OVC Gallery for more information about her work to support victims of crime.
DEBORAH FLOWERS: In '87, during my early days of nursing, my preceptor walked up to me with this box and said, "There's a rape victim down there and we need a sexual assault exam. Just read the instructions."
We did not have any formal training for 10 years.
We took the first SANE training that was offered in the State of North Carolina.
It was a constant week of recognizing what I did not do.
I would leave here every day, on the way home, I'd actually cry.
And that's when we started building this program. We started developing our own trainings and we were able to build our team. Several of the pediatric doctors started recognizing that there were nurses that had this skill set. Cases were being missed of child maltreatment. There were situations where children died. So, it was around 2003 or so, we started doing a more pediatric-focused Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner training.
Let's talk about child sexual abuse, and what that means and what you're going to be dealing with.
Eventually, I would go to the North Carolina Child Medical Evaluation Program. When I took over, I worked with pretty much all 100 counties. I would look at material and content. I would look at photographs. I would make recommendations for further evaluations. And a large part of what I did also was training.
One of my jobs was to actually try to recruit medical providers in communities to do this work. About nine months before I decided I was going to retire and announced it, they were developing two Child Advocacy Centers within driving distance from me. So, I thought, okay, I can retire and go down there and do it myself.
…along with recommendations for well child check, dental visit, all the usual routine stuff.
And that's not my only job. As the medical services provider for the Child Advocacy Centers of North Carolina, I'm doing the same thing I did at the CMEP program for the CACs.
I think it depends on what the rest of the exam shows.
I've always kind of been a person that felt like I was 24/7. And I can't quite figure out when I'm going to really retire.
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