While her desire to become a nurse had early roots, Kathleen Hackett, MSN, RN, SANE-P, could not foresee the path that led to her role as the Forensic Program Coordinator for UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.
When I was six years old, I remember my mother taking me to the hospital, where I met a nurse. I remember her being quite happy as she spoke about her work. Later that day I told my mother that I was going to be a nurse. I never thought of any other career from that day.
I obtained a Diploma in Nursing from St Vincent’s School of Nursing in Erie, Pennsylvania. While working as an emergency room nurse over the next 30 years, I cared for many sexual assault patients, and yet had no awareness that nurses were trained in sexual assault examinations. It was not until 2010 while working at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital that my nurse manager supported me in taking additional training to become a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). At the completion of that course, it was clear that my professional goals had changed and I realized my passion was caring for survivors of sexual assault. I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from Indiana Wesleyan University, and then went on to earned a Master of Science in Forensic Nursing from Cleveland State University.
My education and support from Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital allowed me to create real change regarding the healthcare provided to victims of sexual violence and exploitation in my facility and community. Now nine years later, I continue to work as a SANE, and currently serve as the Forensic Program Coordinator for UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. Forensic nurses specialize in caring for patients who are victims of trauma, violence, and abuse. These nurses have a foundation in the criminal justice system as well as nursing. Forensic nurses are the front lines when victims of crimes such as sexual assault and exploitation need help the most. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with colleagues and multiple community partners. However, I believe that my greatest achievement is providing quality care for child survivors of sexual violence.