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Bangor community comes out to support SAFE nurses

The Bangor community came out to Broadway Park Sunday morning to support the nurses at St. Joseph Hospital who constantly work to support their patients.

BANGOR, Maine — The nurses at St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor are constantly charged with supporting others.

On Sunday, the community came out to Broadway Park for the "Commit to get Fit 5/10K," all to support those very same nurses who are typically there for others.

Many of these nurses at St. Joseph Hospital are trained as S.A.F.E nurses, which stands for Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner.

They are the people who are trained to examine sexual assault survivors at some of the worst times in their lives.

"People used to not report that they were sexually assaulted and people didn't know that they could come to the hospital and get taken care of for it," said SAFE nurse Michelle Markie. "We do a lot of outreach so that people know that they can come in and get taken care of and it starts their healing quicker. It sets them up with an advocate right in the room so instead of just getting a pamphlet saying, 'here, call rape response services,' you've met that advocate and you now have a connection. You've got your healthcare taken care of. You've got an advocate at your bedside that's going to call and check on you the next day so you're just going to start that healing process a whole lot sooner."

In 2018, SAFE nurses took care of more than 150 patients, according to Markie.

She said this number is rising year after year, not because more sexual assaults are taking place but because more survivors feel as though they can report their assault and seek help.

All of the proceeds from Sunday's inaugural run goes to support the SAFE nurses program at the hospital with training and equipment.