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Forensic nurses do important work behind the scenes

LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i Police Department was joined by Mayor Derek Kawakami and the Kaua‘i County Council in celebrating Forensic Nurses Week that concluded on Nov. 12.

In the special ceremony, the KPD’s five forensic nurses — Erin Carrington, Stephanie Huhn, Chelise Ka‘aihue, Charlene Ono and Ceisha Judd — were honored with commendation certificates and lei for their work.

“These ladies are an invaluable part of KPD, and do so much for our community behind the scenes,” said KPD Chief Todd Raybuck. “We want to take this opportunity to honor the incredible work they do, and their dedication to their jobs.”

Forensic Nurses Week is observed to recognize nurses who provide exceptional care to patients impacted by violence, abuse and trauma.

Forensic nurses are highly educated professionals who continue to meet the increasingly complex forensic and health care needs of individuals, families,
communities, populations and systems worldwide. Forensic nurses also provide consultation and testimony for civil and criminal proceedings.

Kawakami, through a Forensic Nurses Week proclamation, said sexual assault, gun violence and human trafficking continue to demand attention, presenting a pivotal opportunity for health care facilities to prioritize the needs of patients affected by violence. It is recognized that violence is a health care problem, and the International Association of Forensic Nurses promotes forensic nursing strategies that prevent violence in an attempt to create a world without violence, the mayor wrote in his proclamation.

Whether assessing and addressing injuries, collecting evidence or preventing or treating disease, a forensic nurse’s priority is always the health and safety of the patient, the proclamation continued.

“The County of Kaua‘i is proud to have a team of specially trained forensic nurses employed with the Kaua‘i Police Department to serve our community. The nurses at KPD are also part of a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program that provides a number of ways for a victim of sexual assault to feel safer by allowing them to be treated in a private exam room at the Lihu‘e headquarters,” the proclamation states.

“This gives the patient not only the ability to be directly in touch with the detectives and nurses who work as a specially trained team for these incidents, it provides victims with the kind of privacy and confidentiality they might not receive in a hospital setting.”

“I want to thank our nurses, past and present, for their service,” said Investigative Services Bureau Capt. Paul Applegate. “When a victim contacts KPD to report a crime, either by calling 911 or dispatch at 808-241-1711, Kaua‘i’s SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) program is immediately activated, allowing law enforcement, nurses, YWCA of Kaua‘i victims’ advocates and Kaua‘i prosecutors to work closely together in order to provide the best possible care for the patient. Victims are encouraged to call 911 to report a sexual assault crime so the SART system and SANE program is activated right away.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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