Horizon introducing series of enhancements to Forensic Nurse Examiner services

(HORIZON) – Horizon is introducing a series of strategic changes to its Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) program which will help ensure consistent access and improved care for survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence.

These measures were identified as a result of an internal review of Horizon’s FNE program – formerly known as the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program – services undertaken by the organization earlier this fall.

Forensic Nurse Examiners provide specialized nursing services and trauma-informed care to victims of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and maltreatment to any individual including men, women, teens, children, seniors and members of the LGBTQ community.

In addition, FNEs are trained in conducting a medical forensic exam, including evaluation for evidence collection, while providing effective courtroom testimony and showing compassion and sensitivity towards survivors of sexual and/or intimate partner violence.

“The expansion of Forensic Nurse Examiner services will help ensure safe, compassionate and quality personalized care for survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence, regardless of gender, can be provided and that resources are available in the right place at the right time at each of Horizon’s five FNE sites,” said Margaret Melanson, Interim President and CEO, Horizon Health Network.

As a result of this process, which included significant consultation with Horizon’s FNE coordinators and teams, the following measures will be implemented:

  • Increased Staffing
    • Increase and add FNE coordinators in all five areas served by Horizon (Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, Upper River Valley, Miramichi).
    • Addition of full-time FNE coverage for 16 hours per day in Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton.
    • Addition of full-time FNE coverage for 8 hours per day in Upper River Valley and Miramichi.
  • Committee will be composed of leaders and experts from Horizon, Vitalité and the Department of Health.
  • Committee’s mandate will be to:
    • Establish Provincial Quality Standards
    • Review and endorse Provincial Quality Standards
    • Monitor performance measures
    • Recommend further optimization of the program to better meet the needs of the patients
  • Development of a Provincial FNE Education Strategy
    • Streamlined education strategy with technological solutions to enable ease of access and to ensure effective and efficient onboarding of all FNE personnel.
  • Rebranding of former SANE program to FNE
    • Program to be reassessed and renamed to better reflect the comprehensive work that is done by FNEs. 

“Horizon is prioritizing the modernization of FNE services and putting a program in place that best meets the needs of patients and staff,” Melanson added. “These measures are representative of our overarching organizational commitment to providing better access to health care services and improving the patient experience. I would like to thank our FNE teams for their active participation in this process, and for their continued commitment to this crucial program and the patients it serves.”

The implementation of these initiatives requires an additional investment of approximately $1.16 million, which will cover the cost of hiring additional coordinators and nursing staff to support the program.

Horizon is continuing to work closely with our partners with Vitalité and the Government of New Brunswick so that these improvements can be finalized and enacted as quickly as possible.

Horizon looks forward to sharing updates on this process in the months ahead.

Improving access to health care, specifically emergency care and surgical services, is a key priority of Horizon’s plan to ensure all New Brunswickers receive the safe, high-quality and timely care they need. This plan consists of three other priorities, including the retention and recruitment of physicians, nurses and staff; improving overall patient experience; and improving patient flow at our health care facilities. Further details about Horizon’s four priority areas are available at HorizonNB.ca.

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For more information contact:

Kris McDavid

Media Relations