Purpose: To examine Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) programs' goals and guiding philosophies and how they influence patient care practices for sexual assault victims.
Design: Data were collected from a national random sample of SANE to examine whether programs differed significantly in their goals and patient care practices.
Methods: Iterative cluster analysis was used to identify types of programs distinct in their stated goals.
Findings: Three types of emphasis in SANE programs were identified: (a) prosecution of cases as a primary goal; (b) attending to patients' emotional needs, supporting feminist values, empowering patients, and changing the community response to rape; and (c) least importance on prosecution of cases and average importance on the other goals. Programs that were more focused on prosecution goals provided less comprehensive patient services.
Conclusions: Programs focused on prosecution as a primary goal were less likely to provide comprehensive services, especially those involving patient education. Such information is important for patients because their health concerns (e.g., pregnancy, STIs) have long-term implications for their well-being. Historical and structural differences among SANE programs might explain these different patient care practices. Researchers should examine the underlying processes in SANE programs that shape both their goals and patient care approaches.