McLeod Receives SAFE Level 1 Designation for Forensic Nursing Services



Will McLeod, CEO, McLeod Regional Medical Center; Cheryl Neuner, Regional Systems Developer – Perinatal Outreach for McLeod Regional Medical Center; Tammy Abel, vice president of women’s and children’s services, McLeod Regional Medical Center; Kelley McCormick, clinical nurse manager, McLeod Regional Medical Center Emergency Department; Shannon Scott, coordinator, McLeod Health Forensic Nurse Examiner Program; Lauren Moose, forensic nurse McLeod; and Dr. Carl Chelen, McLeod Pediatric Intensivist.

The South Carolina Victim Assistance Network (SCVAN) has awarded McLeod Regional Medical Center a Level 1 SAFE (Sex Assault Forensic Examiner) designation. Similar to a hospital’s trauma level designation, this designation indicates to the community and collaborating agencies what type of forensic nursing services are provided at McLeod.

McLeod is only the second hospital in the state to earn this designation.

Level 1 is the highest attainable designation and demonstrates that McLeod Regional Medical Center provides the latest evidence-based, trauma-informed, and patient-centered forensic nursing practices for adult, adolescent, and pediatrics 24/7/365.

The Medical Examiners Task Force, led by SCVAN, in partnership with several state agencies, including the Attorney General’s Office, the South Carolina Division of Law Enforcement, the Hospital Association of South Carolina and many others, has implemented a statewide standard of care for victims of sexual assault.

Hospitals and other agencies involved in caring for victims of sexual assault, including EMS, law enforcement, fire departments and advocacy centers, can apply to have their organization/agency recognized with the SAFE designation.

The McLeod Health Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) program currently operates out of the McLeod Regional Medical Center and plans to expand to all McLeod Health hospitals.

Forensic nurses are specifically trained to treat victims of sexual assault with compassion and understanding. They help overcome the physical, psychological and social trauma faced by someone who has been assaulted or abused.

“Our focus is the patient,” says Shannon Scott, coordinator of McLeod Health’s forensic nurse examiner program. “We provide treatment, gather evidence and offer courtroom testimony upon request, but our overriding goal throughout the process is to not add to the patient’s trauma. This is what “trauma-informed care” means.

McLeod’s forensic nurses treat the following cases: sexual assault, domestic or spousal abuse (if there is a component of sexual assault), child abuse or neglect, and sexual exploitation/trafficking.

This program was made possible through the generous support of donors to the McLeod Health Foundation.

If you are a victim of domestic violence/spousal abuse or sexual assault, contact the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault. The call is free, confidential and available 24 hours a day.

Toll free – 1-800-273-1820
Florence – (843) 669-4600


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