I was pleased to see the publication of "Tragedy into Policy: A Quantitative Study of Nurses' Attitudes Toward Patient Advocacy Activities" (Original Research, June). Although it's unfortunate that the research was spurred by a serious compromise to patient safety, it's encouraging to see nursing research having an impact on state legislation regarding the legal protection of whistleblowers.
The author, Lisa M. Black, mentions the case of two nurses from Winkler County, Texas: Anne Mitchell and Vicki Galle, who were brave enough to advocate patient safety and then were criminally charged for their actions. As a graduate nursing student who was taking a policy and politics course—part of a nursing administration program—as this case unfolded, I was appalled to learn that protecting patients could lead to criminal charges. Ultimately, these nurses have worked to make positive changes to Texas law, advocating immunity for nurse whistleblowers and financial penalties for those who retaliate against them.
I'm inspired by the impact of the research described in this article, which will ultimately help to improve nurses' work environments and encourage them to report unsafe practices without fears of reprisal.
Kristin M. Kammrath, BSN, RN, CCRN
For more letters from AJN readers, go to http://links.lww.com/AJN/A30.