Friday Q&A with Linda Rossman

I have been fortunate to work with Linda Rossman on and off for many years. And I'm truly lucky she works with me on the sustainability project as one of our consultants. She's been doing this work for some time now, out of a community-based clinic in Michigan. But I'll let her explain all that to you:

I've been a SANE since: 1996

Hospital or community-based program? Community Based: YWCA West Central Michigan Nurse Examiner Program

I'm a SANE because: In 1994, I had just finished revising our ED policy on Sexual Assault. I got that job because I told my manager about an article I read in JEN. She said since I was "up on that stuff" I should attend an informational meeting at the YWCA about starting a SANE program in our community. She said "you can attend the meeting, but there is no way this community or the physicians are ever going to support a SANE program in this town."

The best advice someone ever gave me was: Do something no one else wants to do and do it well.

A skill every SANE should have is: She should be able to underestimate the importance of sleep and have the ability to provide compassionate, high quality nursing care to every patient without prejudice or judgment.

A skill every program coordinator should have is:
A keen sense and ability to hire nurses well suited for forensic nursing.

More money or more staff? Definitely more money--I would love to pay my staff what they are worth.

I wish someone had told me when I was first starting out: It will be hard to do your job part time.

My most indispensable resource is: My nurses. Many have been with me since our start 13 years ago. They are incredible, dependable and experienced. They handle difficult situations with sound judgment and maturity--they make the scheduling and supervisory part of my role so easy.

My strong suit is: My ability to surround myself with a lot of smart, dedicated and incredible talented people.

I would rather eat glass than: Have to kill big creepy cockroaches that occasionally find their way into our exam suite. [JM: And I thought we were the only ones that had to deal with that issue!]

I take care of myself by: Therapy-- that usually includes shopping and wine with my sisters. Plus, vacations with my spouse to beaches or alpine skiing as much as we can manage with our schedules.

It will be time to do something else when: I am unable to recall the door code to my office.

In 10 years I would like to be: Enjoying excellent health. Hopefully, working a little less but still feeling like what I am doing is making a contribution. Travel to new places and spend time with a few small grandchildren.

Words of advice for a struggling SANE program coordinator? Never underestimate the importance of establishing community partners and relationships. If they understand and value your services, they will do amazing things to ensure SANE's in your community.