Yes, you read that correctly, Senator Maureen Walsh of Washington State (R-Wala Wala) seems to believe that nurses actually have time to sit around and play cards at work. Nurses everywhere are responding that they are actually busy saving lives and rarely receive their lawful breaks.
Senator Walsh made the comments on April 16, 2019, and was said to be referring to the nurses who work in critical access hospitals. She believes that they should be exempt from Washington State bill SHB 1155 that would protect nurses from mandatory overtime and protect their meal and rest breaks.
In the video Walsh is heard making several claims about the nursing profession,
“If nurses get tired, let’s stop letting them do 12 hours shifts, let’s make them do 8-hour shifts. 12 hours, I know they want it but, then they come back and start talking out of both sides of their mouth and telling us how tired they are,” says Senator Walsh.
She goes on to state her opinion on what nurses do during their break time,
“I understand 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. I would submit to you that those nurses probably do get breaks! They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day!” said, Senator Maureen Walsh.
About The Bill – SHB 1155
Bill SHB 1155 was originally intended to protect the lunch and rest breaks for nurses who work 12 hours per day or more – which is standard for most nurses – and to limit mandatory overtime. A practice that, according to the Washington State Nurse’s Association is an “abhorrent employer practice” with unplanned overtime ultimately hurting not only nurses but, the patients as well in the long run.
However, Senator Walsh recently offered an amendment to the bill that will also limit nurse’s shift hours to 8 hours per day in Washington State. This amendment is causing push-back and controversy throughout the Washington State nursing community as many say it will affect their livelihood.
Due to her comments, the bill is likely to go viral along with her remarks.
The Washington State Hospital Association’s President and CEO, Cassie Sauer, posted a statement confirming that they do not support Senator Walsh’s amendment,
“In a surprise amendment to the nurse staffing bill, the Senate added a provision that would limit nurses to working only eight hours in a 24-hour period. This would be a strict prohibition, with no exemptions for emergencies or patient safety. Nurses could not choose to work more if they wanted to. A nurse could be in the middle of a life-saving surgical procedure and there would be no exception to allow them to stay and complete their work. WSHA did not support and had no knowledge of this amendment.
This would also change the standard schedule for nurses, who mostly work three 12-hour shifts a week — a schedule that was developed primarily at their request. If the amendment becomes law, nurses would need to work five days a week to earn full-time pay,” stated Sauer.
Sauer ended the statement with a call to action to have the amendment removed,
“We need your action. Please tell your House members how bad this would be. Please tell your nurses what is happening and ask them to call their unions and their House members. Tell them to oppose the eight-hour work limit amendment to SHB 1155.”
The Washington State Nurse’s Association says on their website that, “there is zero logic behind the amendment” as it will cover the rest breaks for some nurses but not, all nurses.
In regards to Senator Walsh’s recent comments, the WSNA says they are not only disrespectful but also, “one of the most demeaning statements on the nursing profession since Joy Behar’s 2015 “doctor’s stethoscope” comments on The View.”
A petition has been created to have Maureen Walsh shadow a nurse for 12 hours. The petition has been signed by thousands of supporters – sign the petition here