A Washington State Senator Said Some Nurses Spent Too Much Time Playing Cards. Then Nurses Replied.

“Incredibly disrespectful and patronizing.”


For years, nurses in Washington state have lobbied for uninterrupted breaks during work shifts and protections for overtime. But as state lawmakers debated a bill that would do just that, one Republican state senator asserted that some nurses could spend their time more productively. 

State Sen. Maureen Walsh called for an amendment to the legislation to expand breaks for nurses that would exclude small hospitals. Her reasoning? “I would submit to you that those nurses probably do get breaks,” she said on the state Senate floor. “They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.” The state Senate approved the amendment but the bill not been finalized. 

It didn’t take long for nurses to strike back. In a blog post, the Washington State Nurses Association denounced Walsh’s remarks as “incredibly disrespectful and patronizing,” arguing there was “zero logic” to giving only some nurses protections but not all. Mathew Keller, the organization’s director of nursing practice, noted in the post that it was already difficult to recruit nurses to rural hospitals, so excluding them from getting covered by the bill “would just make it worse.”

“No, Senator, nurses are not sitting around playing cards,” he wrote. “They are taking care of your neighbors, your family, your community.” And many took to Twitter to show what a nurse’s life is really like and slam the senator’s remarks.  



In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.