Your article on needlestick safety (July 5, p. 36) gave a good overview of the issue but omitted information your readers should have.
As part of their advocacy for the health and safety of nurses, the American Nurses Association and its member state nurses associations have led the fight for safer needle devices to protect registered nurses and other healthcare workers from life-threatening infections. ANA/California drafted the language in the California law-requiring healthcare providers to use products designed for safety-mentioned in the story.
We applaud the Service Employees International Union for advancing this legislation. But we want to say that the ANA, its state associations and the specialty nursing organizations-which together represent 500,000 registered nurses-have played a pivotal role in promoting safer needle devices. The ANA recently launched a "Safe Needles Save Lives" campaign, which gives a name to the work it has been doing since the early 1980s. Numerous nursing and healthcare organizations, along with the SEIU, make up a coalition that promotes the passage of federal needlestick legislation.
I have been interested in this issue for some time but recently sustained a needlestick injury that infected me with HIV and hepatitis C, and changed my life. While I am committed to the prevention of catastrophic injuries like mine, I believe the collective voice of the ANA membership and specialty nursing organizations will provide the leadership to make change possible.
The ANA's House of Delegates recently directed the association to amplify its push for standards requiring safer needle devices. The ANA also will continue to call on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to require healthcare employers to involve healthcare workers in the selection of safer devices and train them to use them.
My colleagues across the country are a source of support and encouragement to me and other nurses who must cope with needlestick injuries. The coalition working to protect healthcare workers from preventable exposure to injury and disease is broad-based. Working together, we will succeed.
Massachusetts Nurses Association Canton