Washington lawmaker faces backlash after saying some rural hospital nurses may spend time playing cards

Nurses are pushing back after a Washington state lawmaker said some nurses in small, rural hospitals “probably play cards” much of the time, according to USA Today.

State Sen. Maureen Walsh reportedly made the remarks amid a Senate debate on a bill that calls for uninterrupted meal and rest breaks for nurses, in addition to protecting them more against mandatory overtime.

"By putting these types of mandates on a critical access hospital that literally serves a handful of individuals, I would submit to you those nurses probably do get breaks," she is quoted as saying April 16. "They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day."

Backlash from nurses following the remarks has included various online petitions.

One online petition, signed by about 569,500 people as of April 22, calls for the senator to “experience what really happens during an RN’s 12-hour shift” by shadowing a nurse. 

Another petition, signed by more than 6,100 people as of April 22, calls for the resignation of Ms. Walsh.

USA Today reports that the Twitter hashtags #maureenwalsh and #nursesplaycards also trended after the senator’s comments.

Ms. Walsh — who was arguing April 16 for amendment that would exclude small, rural hospitals from the bill — told the Tri-City Herald she regrets the comment about nurses playing cards. However, she said she still opposes the bill, which passed the state Senate with the amendment. 

The Washington State Nurses Association opposed the amendment to exclude small, rural hospitals from the bill.

Read more about the legislation here


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