The Emergency Nurses Association commended the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate for including language in the National Defense Authorization Act that provides for the increased presence of sexual assault nurse examiners in the military to treat victims of sexual assault and ensure that forensic evidence is properly collected.
The National Defense Authorization Act was approved by the House on Dec. 12 on a vote of 350-69, and by the Senate a week later by an 85-19 margin. The bill was signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 26.
The National Defense Authorization Act includes language supported by the ENA that requires the assignment of at least one full-time sexual assault nurse examiner to each military medical facility in which an ED operates 24 hours per day. Additional nurse examiners may be assigned based on the demographics of the patients who utilize a medical facility.
In addition, the provision specifies that sexual assault nurse examiners assigned to military facilities must meet the training and certification requirements set forth by the secretary of defense.
I am very pleased that the House and Senate have included this bipartisan legislation that will ensure that highly-trained nurses will now be available to provide treatment to sexual assault victims in our military, JoAnn Lazarus, RN, MSN, CEN, 2013 ENA president, said in a news release. The requirement that each 24-hour military medical facility be staffed by at least one sexual assault nurse examiner is an important step in improving the medical care provided to victims.
National Defense Authorization Act (see Section 541 for information on sexual assault nurse examiners): www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr1960/text