Lake Regional Health System honors a special team during Forensic Nurses Week, Nov. 11–15.

Lake Regional Health System honors a special team during Forensic Nurses Week, Nov. 11–15.

“If you are a nurse, it’s in your heart to help people,” says Crystal Lloyd, R.N., director of the Lake Regional Forensic Assessment and Consultation Team (FACT). “Our forensic nurses have a special opportunity to do just that, as they care for individuals experiencing the shock and devastation of assault, abuse and neglect.”

Victims of these crimes often need an “evidentiary exam,” or an exam aimed at collecting and documenting evidence of the crime committed against them. Lake Regional FACT nurses complete these exams at Lake Regional Health System, as well as at Kids Harbor in Osage Beach and St. Robert.

“Our work is always victim-centered,” said Dee Ballard, R.N., BSBM, BCEN, a member of Lake Regional FACT. “As forensic nurses, our first priority is meeting the patient’s needs and helping patients begin the healing process.”

Lake Regional FACT partners with several other local organizations also involved in serving victims of abuse and neglect, including Kids’ Harbor, Citizens Against Domestic Violence/Victim Outreach Center, the Missouri Department of Social Services and law enforcement agencies. Lake Regional has eight FACT nurses. Each one shared what her work with FACT means to her.

Dee Ballard, R.N., BSBM, BCEN

Joined Lake Regional: 2002

Joined FACT: 2007

“I do this job for the elderly lady who was raped and was fully aware but couldn’t run; she thanked me for helping her keep her dignity through her exam. I do this job for all the little boys who take the beatings more often so their siblings get less of one — and who are so proud of their story and want someone to understand. I do this job for the teenage girls who already know they didn’t make good choices but just want to heal. I do this job for the lady who takes the beatings over and over so her kids can have a house and food to eat. I do this job for my team. We need each other to power on to do our jobs.”

Stephanie Dominique, R.N.

Joined Lake Regional: 2003

Joined FACT: 2013

“Our victims deserve to know that someone cares about them no matter what has happened in their lives. Our team is very tight-knit; we are family, not just co-workers.”

Angie Halterman, R.N.

Joined Lake Regional: 1993

Joined FACT: 2012 and 2017

“I saw how the program was making a difference for the victims of abuse, and I wanted to be a part of it.”

Ashley Haslag, R.N., ALNC

Joined Lake Regional: 2012

Joined FACT: 2018

“I joined to help victims know they are not alone in a time when they need support.”

Crystal Lloyd, RN-FNE

Joined Lake Regional: 2006

Joined FACT: 2015

“I joined FACT to help patients and families shoulder their burdens with dignity and know that they are not alone. Often, the victims that we see are children, our future. I strive to empower them and help them to be overcomers.”

Wendy Pryor, R.N.

Joined Lake Regional: 2003

Joined FACT: 2016

“There is an unheard need from victims in our community, and Lake Regional is one of the few hospitals in the state to offer what we do.”

Monica Whitter, R.N., BSN

Joined Lake Regional: 2004

Joined FACT: 2018

“Unfortunately, there is a great need for services in this community. Someone has to be the voice for the voiceless.”

Anne Wilson, R.N.

Joined Lake Regional: 1991

Joined FACT: 2008

“It gets really tough at times, and I mean really tough, but it’s also what we do. We help our patients through one of the worst times of their lives, whether it’s domestic violence, physical abuse, neglect, elder abuse, child abuse or sexual abuse, and we make a difference!”

Lake Regional Health System provides comprehensive health care services to residents and visitors throughout the mid-Missouri region. The hospital is a Level II Stroke Center, Level II STEMI (heart attack) Center and Level III Trauma Center. Lake Regional also provides a wide range of specialties, including cancer care, heart care, orthopedics and women’s health. Plus, Lake Regional operates primary care clinics, Express Care clinics, rehab therapy clinics, programs for home health and hospice, and retail pharmacies. To learn more, visit lakeregional.com.