Forensic Nurse Examiner Program | UnityPoint Health - Meriter

Forensic Nurse Examiner Program

Sexual assault and physical violence are frightening and traumatic experiences. Seeking care after an assault should not be. The Forensic Nurse Examiner Program (FNE) at UnityPoint Health – Meriter provides a supportive environment where victims receive medical attention and emotional care. 

Learn more about the FNE program from the NBC15 Investigates news story, which aired March 4, 2019 entitled Assaults on the rise

Our specially trained nurses help survivors through the initial shock of their ordeal, gather medical evidence for law enforcement and offer a sense of dignity to patients of all ages. Care is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, within the Emergency Department at UnityPoint Health – Meriter.  FNE is the only program of its kind in Dane County and serves many counties in southern Wisconsin.

The Goal of the Program

In 2018, forensic nurses cared for 640 survivors of sexual assault and physical abuse.  The goal of the program is to provide a supportive environment where survivors are listened to and not judged, receive compassionate care, and find resources for recovery.  FNE offers:

  • Emotional support 
  • Physical examination and wellness check 
  • Collection of medical forensic evidence 
  • Assistance with reporting the crime to police, when requested (mandatory reporting for children) 
  • Development of a medical follow-up and safety plan

Meriter's Forensic Nurse Examiner Program collaborates with physicians, law enforcement and the Dane County Rape Crisis Center in cases that involve:

  • Sexual assault 
  • Domestic violence 
  • Strangulation 
  • Elder abuse 
  • Child physical abuse 
  • Suspect examination for evidence 

This program is a valuable resource for our community as well as the region.  Your support helps provide funding for program needs including forensic cameras, replacement clothing for victims, staff training, and patient comfort items.

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