December 6, 2017

Mercy Medical Center nurse elected to leadership role for forensic nursing association

The Ohio Chapter of the International Association of Forensic Nurses has voted Mercy Medical Center employee, Sarah Schemmel, RN, as president-elect of the organization. This three-year commitment includes her learning the role of the presidency (2018) serving the role of presidency (2019) and training the next president (2020). Schemmel serves as the hospital’s HAVEN program (Healing After Violent Encounters Network) clinical manager. She helped launch Mercy’s HAVEN program in April 2016 with a very specific purpose in mind.

“I had a vision to expand and transform our SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) program to meet the needs of our community—to not only respond to sexual assault patients but to also respond to any patient experiencing victimization,” explained Schemmel. She adds that since the HAVEN program’s inception, “We have improved response times to the bedside and increased availability to patients, our program also shifted from an on-call only program to an established nursing department with SANE trained nurses present in-house.”

Schemmel is honored to have been elected to this leadership position and takes the responsibility seriously. “I hope to be a positive representative of both Mercy Medical Center as well as the field of forensic nursing while providing leadership and technical support to my peers,” said Schemmel. “With my newly elected role, I will be in a position to better serve as a resource to providers and to aid in enhancing medical response for patients impacted by violence.”

In addition to providing excellent medical care, Schemmel adds that being a sexual assault nurse examiner is about understanding the effects of trauma on the patient, providing them with options, helping to identify their needs, concerns and barriers. An important aspect of being a forensic nurse, to Schemmel, is always “striving to support and empower the patients in their journey to healing.”

Since 2016, Schemmel has helped the HAVEN program grow from one person into five in-house SANE trained registered nurses, 10 SANE trained on-call registered nurses and one patient and community services coordinator. According to her dedicated employees, Schemmel is “a leader and a mentor in the hospital and in the community.” Her nomination form, submitted by Mercy HAVEN staff members, proudly stated, “Sarah is an inspirational leader and Mercy Medical Center and the community are fortunate to be beneficiaries of her mission—she has a vision for the future of our program and our community that is promising, contagious, and exciting.”

To learn more about Mercy’s HAVEN program, please visit cantonmercy.org/HAVEN.

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