This article presents a research study to analyze the impacts of nurse examiner-led sexual assault telehealth examinations, analyzing pre-examination and post-examination perceptions, and discusses implications for emergency department support for sexual assault nurse examiner-led care and public health messaging.
The purpose of this study is to understand the pre-examination worries of individuals who experience sexual assault, and whether those worries were experienced or resolved during a telehealth-enabled, sexual assault nurse examiner-led sexual assault examination. Patient surveys were administered to understand pre-examination worries, whether those worries were ultimately experienced during the consultation, and patient perceptions of care quality, telehealth consultation, and whether the examination helped individuals feel better. Data analysis was conducted using descriptive statistics and binomial proportion tests. Surveys were collected from 74 adolescents and adults who obtained sexual assault care at 6 rural and 2 suburban hospitals. Study findings showed individuals overcome substantial worries to access care, with 66% having at least 1 worry and 41% endorsing 3 or more pre-examination worries. Most participants felt believed (83%) and did not feel judged (88%) or blamed (85%) during their examination. Analysis of pre-examination worries and worry resolution during the examination showed 88% to 100% resolution of worries related to being believed, judged, blamed or lacking control. Participants highly rated the quality of care received (92%) and 84% stated the examination helped them feel better, suggesting a sexual assault nurse examiner-led examination is an important step toward recovery and healing. These findings have implications for emergency department support for sexual assault nurse examiner-led care and public health messaging to demystify sexual assault care, allay fears, and highlight care benefits. (Published Abstracts Provided)