SANE Recruitment

Recruiting new Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) is one of the biggest challenges for many struggling programs who feel they cannot maintain adequate numbers of nurses to provide 24/7 coverage. What follows are some basic concepts to keep in mind when planning for recruitment and some suggested strategies to make your recruiting efforts more successful.

Recruiting Basics

  • Your best recruitment tool is a good program in a decent, caring organization. No amount of slick recruiting technique can cover up a bad program for long. Word gets around and the SANE community is a small one.
  • Avoid the numbers game. Quality counts. Recruitment needs to be about more than amassing bodies on a schedule. Recruiting nurses without considering their level of commitment, their ability to positively contribute to a team environment, and their competency will ultimately cost you money in educating and orienting. This tactic may also deplete collaboration capital you have built in the community, as stakeholders become less confident or comfortable with your program following negative experiences with staff.
  • Be aware of your language; consider the message it sends. Some people may not respond to desperate or anxious language (i.e. “We’re dying with so few nurses on the schedule”), but may be more amenable to join a group that is “rebuilding” its team or “expanding its base”.
  • Create a formalized recruitment plan and know what your program needs are ahead of time (i.e. experienced SANEs, education dollars to educate new SANEs, etc.). You never know when someone in a position to assist you may ask the question, “What do you need?” Being able to provide a definitive answer reflects well on you as a leader and manager.

Suggested Strategies

  • Each-one-reach-one is an effective recruiting strategy if you have a program with a good reputation. Build in incentives for SANEs who bring in new nurses for training or identify other educated SANEs in the region who might be available to join your staff.
  • Is there someone on your team who can be the face of your program? Identify someone who can speak at your hospital’s nursing orientation program. This is an effective and simple way to get the message out that your program is looking to bring on new staff.
  • Learn how to sell the merits of SANE practice beyond its monetary benefits. This isn’t a guaranteed source of income for most SANEs, since the work is usually unpredictable, so think of ways to couch its benefits in terms other than financial ones.
  • Consider cooperative recruitment: Do you belong to a large regional health system with multiple SANE programs in different communities? There may be opportunity to identify prospective SANEs for multiple programs using fewer resources and combining educational offerings. Is your SANE program housed in an advocacy agency? Volunteer recruitment drives can also be excellent vehicles for identifying nurses with an interest in working with victims of violence.
  • While not foolproof, media recruiting can be effective if it’s targeted and specific to the job. Media recruitment may be less effective if SANE positions are advertised along side openings for L&D or critical care.

Adapted from Attracting People To Your Cause: Otherwise know as Volunteer Recruitment The Center for Creative Community.

Online Resources

The following resources support staff recruitment and retention efforts. 


Job Descriptions

Sample Job Descriptions for SANE Programs


How to Hire Great People--Every Time

65 interview questions for nurses

Cost Benefit Analysis for Retention


The Costs and Benefits of Nurse Turnover: A Business Case for Nurse Retention


The Business Case for Work Force Stability

Management Issues

The relationship between effective nurse managers and nursing retention (ABSTRACT)

National League for Nursing Healthful Work Environment Tool Kit

Time for Realistic Job Previews in Nursing as a Recruitment and Retention Tool

Better prepared workforce, better retention

The Effects of Mentoring on Minority Nurse Recruitment

New Research Provides Solutions to the Nursing Shortage: Improving Retention of Older and Experienced Nurses in the Workforce

What equality law means for you as an employer: when you recruit someone to work for you.






This project was supported by Grant No. 2006-WT-AX-K052 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.