A lot can be said about nurses: They’re by your side when you’re having a baby, or in the throes of a life-threatening medical emergency, or maybe they’re your point of reference when you have a loved one in a time of need.
Nurses are the best, are we right?
Well, about that: a Washington state lawmaker, Sen. Maureen Walsh, made headlines late last week while discussing a proposed bill that would mandate uninterrupted meal and rest periods for nurses.
She really turned heads when she made the following statement:
“I understand helping with employees and making sure that we have rest breaks and things like that. But I also understand that we need to care for patients first and foremost. And by putting these types of mandates on a critical access hospital that literally serves a handful of hospitals. I would submit to you that those (small hospital) nurses probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.”
The Republican from Walla Walla might be eating her words right about now. There’s been a strong response from nurses, and really, people everywhere, about Walsh's choice in verbiage.
If you look up the hashtags #NursesDeserveABreak or #NursesPlayingCards on Instagram or Twitter, you’ll find quite the array of photos and responses. Some were too graphic to include -- a bloody hospital floor labeled “last night’s card game,” for example.
Yes, Walsh’s comments hit below the belt for many, but they also brought on the best of the internet, which has truly has been delivering some classic posts.
We’ll include some Instagram posts below.
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We support nurses! We know how hard you work because we see it daily. Without you, there is no healthcare. Thank you for all that you do for your patients every minute of every day. <3 Transcend Healthcare #nurse #nurses #nursepractitioner #nursesdontplaycards #nursesplayingcards #welovenurses #thankyou #womenshealthcare #collaborativecare #team #nursesunite #weloveyou #nursing
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Wow! What a weekend for nurses. Never before have I witnessed nurses unite and come at a politician the way they have for #SenatorMaureenWalsh. This is a shining example of the assumption that Nursing the System is founded upon: Nurses have incredible power to make waves when they set their minds to something. While Senator Walsh’s comments frustrate me, they don’t surprise me. Her assertion that nurses probably sit around and “play cards a considerable amount of the day” are a compelling example of The Nursing Narrative. Back in February, I shared a blog post (“The Nursing Narrative”) about the fundamental misunderstanding people have of the work that nurses do - largely thanks to media, like the ever-popular medical dramas. I encourage you to read it. Nurses, I’m glad you’re fired up this weekend about the Senator’s comments. Let’s take this opportunity to look around and recognize that when we have something to say and have the courage to say it, people listen. But let’s not wait until the next uninformed, out-of-touch politician pisses us off. Let’s be fired up everyday. Nursing the System is here to stoke the flames. 🔥 • • • P.S. This #maureenmeme wins out as my fave. The simplicity is 👌🏼. Sadly, I do not know who to thank for this creation. If it was you, DM me! 🤗 • • • Instagram: @nursing.the.system Twitter: @nursethesystem Blog: www.nursingthesystem.com
Seriously, some nurses we spoke with said they barely have time to use the restroom during a typical shift (and many shifts are 12 hours!), so it doesn’t seem like a rousing game of poker is on the docket.
For what it’s worth, Walsh was pushing for an amendment that would exempt smaller, rural hospitals from this mandate, an amendment that was subsequently adopted, according to published reports.