A senator from Washington State faced negative reactions this week after noticing that some nurses spent part of their day "playing cards".
Maureen Walsh (right) made these comments during a discussion on a bill providing for meal breaks and uninterrupted breaks for nurses, Spokane-Review spokesman said.
Walsh pleaded for an amendment that would exclude smaller rural hospitals from the requirement. The amendment was finally adopted.
"I understand … making sure we have" breaks, "etc., but I also understand that we have to take care of the patients first," said Walsh.
"I would submit to you that these nurses (from a small hospital) probably have breaks," she continued. "They are probably playing cards for a considerable amount of the day."
Believe me, nurses have not earned the title of "most reliable profession" for seventeen years. They play the "card game" during our shifts. Senator WA Maureen Walsh should be ashamed to use nurses # to score cheap political points like this one. # 1U #nurseslife pic.twitter.com/ucm89ezpDj
– Bonnie Castillo (@NNUBonnie) April 19, 2019
the Association of Nurses of the State of Washington (WSNA), opposed to the amendment, denounced Walsh's words as "incredibly disrespectful and condescending". According to the group, unplanned overtime can lead to lower quality of care, greater patient satisfaction and errors.
"No, senator, nurses are not sitting around cards. They take care of your neighbors, your family, and your community, "WSNA said. "And they read the research: mandatory overtime is bad for patient care and for field hospitals. With all due respect, Senator Walsh: It may be time for you to lay out the cards and pick up the literature.
The group posted on Walsh's comments on Thursday. The publication drew so many readers to the website that it crashed on Friday, The Spokesman-Review reported.
Hill asked Walsh to comment.
The Washington Republican's comments sparked a wave of reactions on the social networks of nurses and health professionals, as well as comedian Kathy Griffin among others.
"Dear #maureenwalsh, Representative from Washington State, Thank you for warning me of a group that even me, I'm not stupid enough to piss in. Never. Ps. My Mother, Maggie Griffin, worked in a hospital for decades, "Griffin wrote.
expensive #maureenwalsh, Representative of the State of Washington,
Thanks for letting a group know that even I'm not stupid enough to piss off. Already. ps. My mother, Maggie Griffin, has worked in a hospital for decades. #NursesDeserveaBreak nurses # pic.twitter.com/ZcGarPTZzp
– Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) April 20, 2019
"Senator Maureen Walsh … here is a picture of me" playing cards, "wrote a nurse." I had an open-heart surgery of 6 hours a few days ago. No break, no break in the bathroom … and certainly no gin rummy. "
Senator Maureen Walsh, here is a picture of me "playing cards"
– Christy Silva Taylor (@Chrisfabs) April 19, 2019
– RN Kaitlyn (@ KWolf523) April 19, 2019
Maybe we will need to finish our Uno game before we take care of this … Senator Maureen Walsh … How were you elected? pic.twitter.com/hffqyt16pX
– Becky Bachelor Shook (@ bbach79) April 19, 2019
Nurses in Nursing Station when Senator Maureen Walsh introduces herself pic.twitter.com/M8dJsc31Xg
– Michaela (@vacuumbiscuits) April 19, 2019
Senator Maureen Walsh – American nurses do not play games. Plus, we do not eat, drink or pee for 12 hours because we are too busy saving lives!
#MaureenWalsh #nursesdontplaycards pic.twitter.com/1if8usITHp
– Shelley (@ShelleyLBI) April 20, 2019
The bill was finally passed by the state Senate with the amendment excluding small hospitals, the spokesman said. The bill previously passed in the House of States without the change.
Walsh also proposed an amendment that would prohibit licensed or licensed practical nurses from working more than eight hours per 24 hours in a health facility, the paper said.
"Well, if we have a problem with nurses getting tired, let's stop letting them do 12-hour shifts," she said. Nurses want longer positions "but then they come back and start talking on both sides of the mouth and tell us how tired they are".
The amendment to the Washington Senate bill was approved by the Democratic majority Senate.