For the past 11 years, Carol Marchetti, M.S. ’02, Ph.D. ’10, RN, PMHNP-BC, SANE, has worked as a sexual assault nurse examiner—a trained professional who responds to calls from any one of seven different hospitals in the Boston area when a victim is admitted. Typically, she spends three to four hours alone with each patient she sees. “It is incredibly powerful,” she says. “I get to say that I will be with her as long as she needs.”

As the only nurse in the room with a patient, Marchetti conducts forensic exams and prepares rape kits, which are sometimes used in court. It is a stressful job, but she says she feels honored to help her patients during a difficult time.

This work enables her to combine her two specialties, forensic and psychiatric nursing. She received a master’s degree in psychiatric nursing from Boston College in 2002, and went on to earn a doctoral degree from the University in 2010. Her dissertation focused on regret and decision-making about police reporting in cases of sexual assault. As a clinical associate professor, she teaches the direct-entry psychiatric mental health students in clinical settings. She relishes the role a teacher plays in education. “I love learning myself, I really do,” she says.

Since 2011, Marchetti has been an assistant professor at Northeastern University’s School of Nursing, and she views her new post as a homecoming. “A large percentage of my family went to Boston College, and I got my master’s and doctorate there,” she says. “I am excited about coming back.”

—Patti Hartigan, photograph by Lee Pellegrini