Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Minister Mary Harney presents first cohort of students in Ireland from RCSI with Higher Diplomas in Nursing Sexual Assault Forensic Examination

20 April 2009

Today, Monday 20th April 2009, Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D., presented the first cohort of nursing students in Ireland from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) with Higher Diplomas in Nursing Sexual Assault Forensic Examination. 


Minister Mary Harney presents (from l-r) Ms. Sinead Boyle, Ms. Deirdra Richardson, Ms. Finola Tobin, Ms. Eleanor Comer, Ms. Aideen Walsh, Ms. Rachel Marum, Ms. Jane Casserley and Ms. Sandra Keeney with Higher Diplomas in Nursing Sexual Assault Forensic Examination.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D., congratulated the first group of eight nurses who have completed the Higher Diploma in Nursing and said “I wish to extend my congratulations and best wishes to all concerned.  This is an important achievement for the students and those that have successfully developed and implemented the programme in RCSI.  This group of specialist nurses will provide the important services and holistic care that victims of sexual assault require.“ 


Pictured meeting Minister Harney before the presentation are (l-r) Aideen Walsh, Rachel Marum and Finola Tobin.

Following recommendations from the National Steering Committee on Violence Against Women on Sexual Assault Treatment Services, the Health Service Executive in partnership with the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland developed the one year Higher Diploma in Nursing Sexual Assault Forensic Examination to prepare nurses and midwives for a new role in providing services to victims of sexual assault.


Pictured from l to r are Professor Cathal Kelly, Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, RCSI; Ms. Bernadette Carpenter, Progamme Director; Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D.; Dr. Terry McWade, Deputy CEO of RCSI and Professor Seamus Cowman, Head of Nursing, RCSI.

Professor Seamus Cowman, Head of Nursing, RCSI said “the requirement for forensic nurse examiners in Ireland primarily arises from the deficiency that currently exists in providing appropriate and professional services to victims of sexual assault. Nurses and midwives, in providing services to victims of sexual assault and as professional witnesses in law courts, will bring a much needed new and dedicated professional nursing perspective to this important area of health services activity”.   

   
 Pictured (from l-r) are Ms. Sandra Keeney, Ms. Eleanor Comer, Ms. Jane Casserley.

The Nursing Sexual Assault Forensic Examination includes both an educational and clinical component.  The development of the educational content of the programme required input from multidisciplinary sources, not only from RCSI nursing and medical schools, but also from state agencies including forensic laboratories, state pathology, An Garda Síochána and the legal profession.

The clinical component of the course involved students spending time in the Sexual Assault Unit at the Rotunda Hospital, the State Forensic Science Laboratory, the Law courts and an allocation overseas to a Sexual Assault Unit in the United Kingdom.  The students were also required to undertake clinical placements in Emergency Departments, Gynaecology, Colposcopy, Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinics, Family Planning and Male Genito Urinary clinics.