Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Zenaide Cavalcante & Vania Baioni

Care for Abuse Victims

Story by Adventist HealthCare staff

Vania Baioni, a registered nurse with the Forensic Medical Unit (FMU) at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, is helping nurses in Brazil launch a much-needed medical specialty. “I am passionate about forensic nursing and I am Brazilian, so it makes sense that I get involved with the group of Brazilian nurses that are working hard to have this specialty recognized there,” said Vania.

Forensic nurses provide specialized assistance to victims of abuse, neglect and human trafficking. The nurses study, observe, evaluate, investigate and identify physical, psychological and social traumas that have occurred in battered or abused patients. In addition to medical training, forensic nurses know the legal system and are trained to collect evidence, testify in court and assist authorities.

In 2019, Vania invited the administrators of Brazil’s Federal Board of Nurses, which sets policies and procedures for nurses throughout the country, to spend two weeks at our Rockville hospital to see how our FMU unit practices forensic nursing. And Vania continues to work with Zenaide Cavalcante, RN, the founder of Abeforense, the Brazilian Association of Forensic Nurses, to combat domestic and sexual violence, a public health issue that undermines the core of the society. As Vania said, “We keep pushing forward to give our patients justice, because that is the right thing to do!”

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