Her plea is to start by believing

Start by believing.

That is the plea Megan Shupe, MSN, RN, CEN, SANE-A, shares every day. It is a plea for those who come to the Emergency department bruised and battered—the victims of abuse and assault.

“I start by telling people ‘you may not be the first person to come into contact with a victim, but you are likely the one they will remember. Keep an open mind. Don’t give them an eye roll when they tell you their story. A person who has suffered trauma may not behave the way you behave, but it doesn’t mean their story is false.’”

Shupe’s passion for victims of abuse and assault inspired IU Health Arnett Hospital to open the Center of Hope in 2018, which is dedicated to caring for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and other violent crimes by providing compassionate, patient-centered, trauma-informed care delivered by highly skilled forensic nurses who perform comprehensive forensic evaluations.

This is why Megan Shupe is an outstanding example of who the YWCA looks to honor with the Salute to Women award. Shupe’s achievements and tireless work to improve Greater Lafayette and beyond deserves to be applauded and celebrated. She is a model leader and community member who works continuously to improve the lives of others.

Shupe takes sexual assault personally. She watched her mother endure an abusive relationship. She herself has been a victim. Not only has she advocated for a safe place to care for victims, her determination and passion has encouraged 13 additional nurses to train in forensic nursing and rotate on an on-call schedule with the Center of Hope.

Shupe advocates that a victim of assault should not be treated like a typical emergency room patient. This is often a traumatized patient who has worked up the courage to come in. There is a short window of time to collect evidence.

Through Shupe’s guidance, two private rooms have been created at Arnett Hospital to support the Center of Hope. The first room is designed more like a home setting with furniture rather than medical equipment. This room serves as a consult room to collect patient information. The second room serves as the exam room and has a private shower. It has all the medical tools necessary to collect forensic evidence.

Through Shupe’s dedication, the Center of Hope program has expanded and now also operates at IU Health Frankfort and White Memorial hospitals.

Today, Shupe spends her time between leading Center of Hope and bedside care as an emergency department nurse. She is always advocating for forensic education and victims of abuse.

If you have experienced abuse and need a safe place to go for help, please visit the Center of Hope, located in the Emergency department at IU Health Arnett, Frankfort and White Memorial hospitals. No appointment is required. Our caring, trained and discreet team is ready to help.