Titus Regional Receives Grant to Train Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE Nurses)


Emily Tonkin, RN (Left) and Kim Basinger, RN (Right) are two members of the SANE Nurse Team at TRMC.

Mt. Pleasant, TX— May 5, 2022Compassionate care and expertise are critical when a person has been a victim of sexual assault.  Titus Regional Medical Center is dedicated to helping these victims by offering advanced training to care for these patients and help give them comfort, and justice, whenever possible.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, or SANE Nurses, have been specifically trained to provide comprehensive care to sexual-assault patients, demonstrate competency in conducting a medical forensic exam to include evaluation for evidence collection, and have the expertise to provide effective courtroom testimony.  Titus Regional Medical Center (TRMC) has included at least one SANE Nurse on staff since 1998.  Now, through the SAFE READY Grant program, TRMC has trained additional nurses to be on call 24/7 in the health system.  Kim Basinger, who has served as a SANE Nurse at TRMC for over 20 years, has been an advocate for women in Northeast Texas and was instrumental in the submission and planning for this opportunity.

In the past, TRMC has worked with health systems in Paris and Sulphur Springs to provide SANE Nurse coverage. However, when a victim arrives at one of these facilities, the patient would possibly need to be transferred to the location with a SANE Nurse on duty.  Suzanne Magee, Director of the TRMC Emergency Department, understands that this is not the best way to care for these patients.  She shared, “Having the ability to perform SANE exams at Titus Regional helps to provide some of the most vulnerable of our patients with services here at home. This grant has helped us to provide our community with not only some of the newest and best equipment available for evidence collection, but also with nurses who are highly trained and passionate about providing this service. I’m very proud of the TRMC Emergency Department team members who have taken caring for these patients to heart.”

“Through this grant opportunity, we can eliminate the transfer of these patients to another facility outside the area,” stated Chief Nursing Officer, Kathy Griffis. “This will save precious time and help to preserve evidence, and even more important, speed up the process for victims who simply want to complete the examination and return to their lives.”  CNO Griffis added, “Victims already have been through a significant trauma, they don’t want to be sent to another facility by ambulance.  They just want the exam over with, with as few people involved as possible.”

Emily Tonkin, RN and Kim Basinger, RN work with equipment used in SANE examinations.

The grant will fund an upgrade to TRMC’s technology resources through the purchase of a specialized camera and system to process these investigations.  The funds also provide for education, specialized training, and certification of four registered nurses as SANE Nurses.

TRMC has updated and designated one exam room in their Emergency Department as a SANE Exam Room.  This room will have additional storage and cabinet space for needed equipment and activity involved in these specialized exams.  The camera system purchased will magnify up to 100% and offers an inverted filter to show damage not yet visible under the skin.  It is designed to store the raw image and has a system with a built-in chain of custody recording every step taken during the exam for future testimony.  The camera system is also portable, allowing the SANE Nurse to go to the ICU, Operating Room, or patient floors within the hospital if needed.

“Treating OUR community members with dignity and respect is the foundation of our core values,” states Titus Regional CEO, Terry Scoggin.  “We are grateful for the funds provided by the state and the selflessness of the nurses who have stepped up to provide this service for those in need at such a critical time.”