About the National TeleNursing Center

Information about the NTC Program and NTC pilot sites

Table of Contents


The MA Department of Public Health’s National TeleNursing Center (NTC) is a pioneer in the use of telehealth technology to support the delivery of quality, trauma-informed care for sexual assault patients.

Expert MA Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs), who have received specialized training in using secure, encrypted, HIPAA compliant telehealth software to support patient care, are known as TeleSANEs. TeleSANEs provide clinical guidance and support to sexual assault patients, 12 years and older, and the clinicians caring for them, at designated locations across Massachusetts on a 24/7 basis. TeleSANE services are currently provided to 10 hospitals in Massachusetts.

The National TeleNursing Center (NTC) is both the TeleSANE branch Massachusetts Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program, and the program’s Center for national collaboration on innovation and advancement of TeleSANE practice.

MA TeleSANE sites

The NTC currently offers 24/7 TeleSANE expertise to 10 MA hospitals, including hospitals in rural and island communities. NTC fosters a collaborative, multi-disciplinary response to improve patient access to quality services that lead to healing. This includes engagement with the medical team, community advocacy agencies, and with patient consent, local law enforcement agencies.

Frequently asked questions

  • Q: How can my hospital receive TeleSANE services?
    A: MA TeleSANE services are currently at capacity, and we are unable to add additional sites. We are hopeful for further expansion in the future.
  • Q: How can I become a MA TeleSANE?
    A: TeleSANEs who staff the NTC are experienced MA SANEs who have met specific criteria and received specialized education to coach remote clinicians through forensic exams/evidence collection, via telehealth equipment. Criteria includes prior MA SANE Certification by the MA Department of Public Health (MDPH), and on-going participation in providing in-person SANE services in one of the Commonwealth’s six SANE service delivery Regions.
    If you are interested in becoming a MA SANE, and providing in-person SANE services in MA, please see our website for current training information (www.mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-the-sexual-assault-nurse-training-certification-program).

NTC education and training model

The MA SANE Program strives to ensure a trauma-informed experience for all sexual assault patients. To meet this goal, the NTC provides baseline clinical training for the nurses and medical providers who work in collaboration with TeleSANEs to provide a quality clinical experience. These trainings include in-person training, live trainings using telehealth video-conferencing equipment, and recorded trainings on the MA SANE Program’s Learning Management System (LMS). The NTC staff work closely with the hospitals it serves to provide quality monitoring and implement process improvements if needed.

TeleSANE clinical practice model

The NTC adapted Joanne Duffy’s Quality Caring Model®, into its TeleSANE Clinical Practice Model. This model helps to ensure a quality, trauma-informed experience for patients, and helps to facilitate seamless teamwork between the TeleSANE and remote/spoke site clinician. The NTC’s related publication received the 2019 Clinical Article of the Year from the Journal of Forensic Nursing.

A National Scope and Influence

As of January 2019, the NTC is primarily providing TeleSANE services to hospitals across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The NTC is actively involved in furthering the expansion and evolution of TeleSANE practice nationally.

An ongoing partnership with the Hopi Health Care Center allows the NTC to continue to provide TeleSANE services for a Tribal Community:

Hopi HealthCare Center
Highway 264 Mile Post 388
Polacca, AZ 86042
(928) 737-6000

The NTC is also a participant in a Technical Assistance grant awarded to the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), for expansion of TeleSANE services in 4 additional states (Alaska, Arizona, South Dakota and Texas).

NTC staff have provided numerous presentations and webinars regarding its TeleSANE Practice Model at regional, national, and international conferences including:

  • American TeleMedicine Association,
  • Emergency Nurses Association,
  • End Violence Against Women International,
  • International Association of Forensic Nurses,
  • Organization of Nurse Leaders,
  • National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.

Historical background

In October 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), awarded funding to the MA Department of Public Health’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program, to pilot the use of telehealth technology to increase access to expert SANE services for sexual assault patients in underserved communities and populations such as tribal, rural and military communities. The MDPH’s National TeleNursing Center (NTC) was created through this effort and piloted this model in 6 locations in 3 states.

  • Hopi Health Care Center – Polacca, Arizona
  • Metrowest Medical Center – Framingham, MA
  • Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton – Oceanside, CA
  • Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital – Twentynine Palms, CA
  • Saint Anne’s Hospital – Fall River, MA
  • Sutter Lakeside Hospital – Lakeport, CA

The NTC model increases the competence and confidence of local clinicians so that they are well-equipped to provide the quality of care that sexual assault patients in their communities deserve. There was extremely high acceptance of TeleSANE services by patients, and NTC TeleSANEs helped support the care of close to 300 patients and their clinicians during the pilot project.

Project evaluation information can be found here:


Clinicians have repeatedly expressed appreciation for the teleSANE experience, describing an honest, professional relationship that puts them at ease and brings calm to an anxious situation.

“I am not feeling anxious anymore, tell other nurses that you never need to feel afraid again of taking care of these patients. The support from the teleSANEs is everything they have promised.”
—Kathy McCarthy, RN
Staff Nurse, Metrowest Medical Center

“I can’t express how much it helps. It’s like having two extra hands and an extra brain."
—Cindy Forbes, RN, SANE,
Sutter Lakeside Hospital, Lakeport, CA

“The people involved in the MA TeleSANE/SANE services are very focused on the human relational components of healing, rather than on the technology that hey may utilize. They talk about and model: presence, kindness, compassion and mindfulness in their work. They understand our human design and utilize it for healing rather than overwhelming it. The MA TeleSANE/SANE program personnel are exemplary in the current practice of health care”.
—Harvey Zarren, MD, FACC
Connect Healing Institute Consultant
North Shore Medical Center

Others involved in the implementation of the NTC have shared their appreciation for the approach to care:

“The NTC has literally transformed care for the sexual assault patients they serve. The expert support provided by TeleSANEs gives the onsite clinicians the guidance they need to conduct a thorough and victim-centered medical-forensic exam. As a result, victims receive compassionate, top-notch care and it gets them one step closer to bringing the perpetrator to justice.”
—Kristina Rose
Director, Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice

“The NTC has worked hard to create support for local SANEs utilizing telemedicine technology to transform the care of sexual assault patients in tribal communities. It has promoted expanded access to expert SANEs in remote and underserved regions that are unique in geography, trauma, culture, and governance. TeleSANE experts have truly gone the extra mile to be culturally informed and to meet tribal sexual assault patients where they are.”
—Dorma Sahneyah
Former Director of Training and Technical Assistance, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center


For more information, please contact the National TeleNursing Center