An advanced nursing practice initiative for managing sexual assault patients in South Africa

Saturday, 16 November 2013: 3:15 PM

Sinegugu Duma, PhD, MCur, BCur, RN
Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify clinical partners for implementation of research findings for development of advanced practice initiatives.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to identify strategies to be used to implement advanced sexual assault forensic nursing practice in South Africa.

Using research findings to inform advanced practice initiatives can be a challenge for researchers in academic positions. These researchers need clinical partners who are willing to utilise findings and recommendations to improve nursing practice.

This purpose of this oral presentation is to demonstrate how the findings and recommendations of an investigation of women’s journey of recovery from sexual assault trauma was used to develop an advanced nursing practice initiative in sexual assault care in South Africa.

The findings from the above-mentioned study highlighted the importance of the nurses in the management of sexual assault, but the country did not have trained Sexual Assault Forensic Nurses at the time. The country only had two- day training workshops for medical doctors on management of sexual assault.

The Director of the Woman, Child and Maternal Health Directorate and the Director of the Nursing Services of the Western Cape Department of Health, South Africa, were presented with the research findings to convince them of the need for developing sexual assault forensic nursing practice in the province. After a series of consultative meetings, a Sexual Assault Forensic Nursing programme was developed in collaboration between the University of Cape Town’s Division of Nursing and Midwifery and  Department of Forensic Medicine, the  National Prosecuting Authority and the Department of Health.

Twenty-two sexual assault forensic nurses have been trained in the Western Cape since 2008. A formal sexual assault forensic nursing practice is established in Western Cape.  A Sexual Assault Forensic Nursing Interest Group has been established and meets quarterly. The patients receive appropriate sexual assault management. Prosecutors report satisfaction with forensic evidence collected by these nurses.  

The presentation concludes with the nurses’ experiences and challenges experienced during the forensic nursing practice development phase in South Africa.