Forensic Nursing Services, Fraser Health - SMART

The Surrey Mobile Assault Response Team (S.M.A.R.T), a partnership between Fraser Health and the Surrey Women's Centre, provides services for women and girls who have experienced physical or sexual violence.

Learn more about this partnership, and the specialized services offered by the forensic nurses at the Surrey Memorial Hospital.

 Transcript

Victim:
What's going to happen when I go to the hospital? Who do I have to tell? Who might see me there? What if someone finds me there? Are you going to hurt me again? Are the police going to be a involved, what happens with that? I don't want my family to know.

Lynn Gifford:
These patients have very unique needs. they're not the same as other patients and the way in which they're unique is that is that they're embarrassed about what's happened to them and they're ashamed about what's happened to them and they have the sense that everybody's looking at them and everybody knows what happened.

Aimee Falkenburg:
The first thing that comes to mind is the word dignity. when I was first learning how to be a forensic nurse examiner, a lot of times they came in saying that they had felt like they had been stripped of everything and not only emotionally but physically.

Aimee Falkenburg:
And if they were sitting there with me and it was just myself and him or her in the examination room, the biggest thing that I remember was trying to provide a little piece of dignity.

Lynn Gifford:
The forensic nurse has a fairly large role in that we need to respond as a nurse, as a person and make an emotional connection but she has another hat to wear.

Aimee Falkenburg:
Forensic nurse examiners are needed to aid between the medical profession and the court system.

Lynn Gifford:
A lot of programs across the country have partnerships with non-government organizations. The difference that has evolved here is that we went one step further and we invited Surrey Women's Centre to come into the hospital and work in partnership with us, here.

Aimee Falkenburg:
I had done about 100 cases prior to the SMART team partnering with us so I have a really great way of balancing between the two and it is like night and day having SMART involved in the care for our patients.

Lynn Gifford:
As soon as we involved support workers from Surrey Women's Centre, we felt, as nurses relieved in some way.

Aimee Falkenburg:
The experience of violence in one's life is never forgotten and I think that if they do receive care, exceptional care, that they can leave and they can begin the healing process. They will always carry it within them.

Lynn Gifford:
People who come and tell this particular story I think, are very brave. This whole process is intended to be a therapeutic process in that each thing that we do, we are trying to restore their sense of autonomy.

Lynn Gifford:
For me the most important part is helping that person to be able to feel whole again.

Aimee Falkenburg:
I love everything about my job. I love that I could possibly go to court and professionally describe everything that happened in this room that could potentially aid that person that has come in for help.

 
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