McLeod Health marks the first year of Forensic Nurse Examiner Program

Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 10:34 PM EST
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - In the Pee Dee, McLeod Health’s Forensic Nurse Examiner program has seen 9 sexual assault cases in as many days so far in 2023.

This comes as the program marks one year of helping these survivors. McLeod Health has a growing team of nurses, and in the last year, the team has trained registered nurses across the state in data collection and the other pillars of forensic nursing.

It’s more than what meets the eye and working to be a forensic nurse you have to have compassion.

“I know that we are the first people that victims come in contact with after what they’ve been through,” said Forensic Nurse Examiner Program Coordinator, Shannon Scott. “And to be that ear for them to talk to, to let them know it’s going to be OK. To start to give them that power and control back, I think is imperative to help them on their road to recovery.”

But you also have to know the ins and outs of evidence collection, photographic documentation, court testimony, and injury identification, just to name a few skills.

“Our team is grown we have seven forensic nurses now four of us are full time and then we have the rest are PRN on an as-needed basis to help fill in the gaps to maintain 24/7 365 coverage,” said Scott.

Through that coverage, the team has seen a total of 93 sexual assault cases.

52% of those cases are adults and 48% are children. In addition, 88% of the adult cases are from women and 12% are from men. Because of the stats, Mcleod started free training for all interested registered nurses in South Carolina.

“The goal is to make more forensic nurses available to all over the region,” said Forensic Nurse Training Program Coordinator, Natalie Lennard.

The team was internationally recognized for the innovation of the year award by DNV, where the program received the third runner-up.

“Everyone’s work is recognized, and it means that patients are going to get what they need and it means that moms aren’t going to have to drive two and three hours to get their children seen,” said Perinatal Systems Outreach Education, Cheryl Neuner. “And it means that law enforcement and the solicitor’s office are going to get convictions. perpetrators are not going to be allowed to do this any longer,” said Neuner.

As the team reflected on why they continue to help serve these survivors, they said it all comes back to a desire to help.

“I’ve had patients thank me on the way out,” said Forensic Nurse Examiner, Lauren Moose, I’ve had a patient hug me and just those moments are what you really and truly draw back on to remind yourself on why you’re willing to put yourself in these nursing shoes”

“That’s what keeps me going is knowing that they need a place to start and that we can help them continue on their journey,” said Scott.

An eight-week didactic training class for registered nurses interested in joining the Forensic Nurse Examiner Program begins January 18, followed by five-week clinical visits among other pieces of training.

Nurses must have two years of nursing experience in the state.

Classes are free, and those enrolled will receive a stipend throughout the course of the year.

For more information about applications and where to send your resume contact Natalie Lennard at