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.  



We recently wrapped up the crowdfunding campaign for our ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project, and it was a smashing success. About 10,364 readers pitched in with donations averaging $45, and together they contributed about $467,374 toward our $500,000 goal.

That's amazing. We still have donations from letters we sent in the mail coming back to us, so we're on pace to hit—if not exceed—that goal. Thank you so much. We'll keep you posted here as the project ramps up, and you can join the hundreds of readers who have alerted us to corruption to dig into.

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.


Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.