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.  


The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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.