HL20: Kristine Aznavoorian, RN, MS—Working to Heal Sexually Abused Children

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , January 23, 2014

It's important work. But it is also stressful.

"The burnout factor is actually a concern within our program. It's tough work. I definitely don't take things home with me. I do my job. I focus on the family and the child," Aznavoorian says. "We have monthly meetings where we share our feelings with the rest of the pedi-SANEs and talk about the struggles that we having doing the job and the work that we do. We rely on each other to talk about the tough days and the good days."

The rewards aren't monetary. The satisfaction comes with knowing you have played a role in helping a child recover from a potentially devastating ordeal.

"The older the children are the more they realize that what happened was wrong or wasn't supposed to happen. They tend to think that as a result something is wrong with their body and that people can tell what happened to them just by looking at them," Aznavoorian says.

"This particularly is true with the adolescent population and the young teens. They think something is wrong with them. It's happened to me on numerous occasions where I examine these children and they look at me and say, 'Really? You can't tell something happened?' I say 'No, I can't tell. Your body is perfectly normal just like every other 11-year-old body would look like.' And they are so excited about that. That is what keeps me doing what I do every day."

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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