- Sen. Maureen Walsh, a Republican from Washington, said in a debate last week that nurses in rural hospitals “probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.”
- Walsh made the comments during a debate in which she argued against a bill that would prevent forced overtime and mandatory lunches for nurses.
- Walsh’s comments did not go over well in the nursing community.
- She has since apologized.
- A petition has circulated for Walsh to “experience what really happens” during a 12-hour shift. It has over 660,000 signatures.
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A state senator is facing backlash for comments she made last week.
During the debated, Sen. Maureen Walsh, a Republican from Washington, said that nurses working at hospitals in rural regions “probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.”
Walsh made the comments during a debate in which she argued against a bill that would prevent forced overtime and mandatory, uninterrupted breaks for nurses to do things like eat meals.
According to the Washington Post, Walsh said that she made those comments because she worried the stipulations outlined in the bill would place strain on hospitals.
But Walsh’s comments didn’t go over well. Online, the nursing community sounded off against the state senator.
I've been nurse for 20 yrs. Been kicked, hit, spit on, bled on, vomited on & screamed at. I've worked in pain, saved lives, held people as they died. I calculate drugs, titrate live saving meds & wipe asses. But never had time to play a cards at work, Senator Walsh.
— Working Squirrel ???? (@_theigirl) April 21, 2019
Trust me, nurses haven’t earned the title "most trusted profession" for seventeen years running by "playing cards" on our shifts. WA Sen. Maureen Walsh should be ashamed to use #nurses to score cheap political points like this. #1U #nurseslife pic.twitter.com/ucm89ezpDj
— Bonnie Castillo (@NNUBonnie) April 19, 2019
If you wanna know what nurses do everyday, Senator Walsh, I’m sure any nurse would welcome you to come follow them for one shift. You better go buy some good shoes before you do though. #nursesdontplaycards pic.twitter.com/6mWXnGCUYA
— Hannah Timson (@hannahtimson) April 21, 2019
“Nurses just sit & play cards”
We spend holidays with your family, not our own.
Our bladders stay full, while we toilet/change your loved one.
We go hungry, so we can ensure our patients are fed.
We improve health, while neglecting our own.
RT to support Nurses! ????#SenatorWalsh
— Gina Lewis (@GinaMarie0125) April 21, 2019
Senator Maureen Walsh – Us nurses don't play games. We also don't eat, drink, or pee for 12 hours at a time, because we are too busy saving lives!
#MaureenWalsh #nursesdontplaycards pic.twitter.com/1if8usITHp
— Shelley (@ShelleyLBI) April 20, 2019
Amid the backlash, a petition has emerged asking Walsh to shadow a nurse on a 12-hour shift.
“Senator Maureen Walsh stated that we as nurses mostly spend our 12-hour shifts playing cards,” wrote Juliana Bindas the petition organizer. “I would like to take a stand and petition to have the Senator experience what really happens during an RN’s 12-hour shift. She most likely won’t be playing Uno.”
At the time of this post, the petition has over 660,000 signatures. Its goal is 1,000,000 affirmative signatures.
“We put our heart and soul into our careers, and (Walsh’s) comments are incredibly far-fetched as to what actually happens,” Bindas told CNN.
Following the outrage, Walsh has issued a statement, apologizing for her remarks.
“I want to offer my heartfelt apologies to those I offended with my comments on the Senate floor last Tuesday,” she said. “I was tired, and in the heat of argument on the Senate floor, I said some things about nurses that were taken out of context – but still they crossed the line.”
And as for that petition, Walsh says she’s seen it and she’s ready to be proven wrong.
“I understand from news accounts that a petition is being circulated urging me to spend a day shadowing a nurse at a local hospital for 12 hours, and walk a mile in her shoes,” she said. “I look forward to receiving it and am happy to accept.”
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