No doubt you've heard the news and seen the coverage about the Washington state senator suffering from a severe case of foot in mouth disease. In case you missed it, here's a recap:
Senator Maureen Walsh was arguing in support of an amendment that would exempt critical access hospitals, in rural areas, and hospitals with less than 25 beds from a bill that would provide nurses with uninterrupted meal and rest periods.
During a debate of the state senate floor she said (and I quote), "By putting these types of mandates on a critical access hospital that literally serves a handful of individuals, I would submit to you those nurses probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day."
Responses to her comments were swift and assertive.
The Washington State Nurses Association called Walsh's remarks "demeaning" and said there is "zero logic" in covering nurses in some hospitals, "while leaving others without any protections."
"No, Senator, nurses are not sitting around playing cards. They are taking care of your neighbors, your family, your community," Mathew Keller, WSNA's director of nursing practice and health policy, said in a post on the union's website.
Senator Walsh responded to the backlash, asserting that she has the "greatest respect for nurses" and that her mother was a registered nurse for many years. She has since walked back her statement.
The nurse community responded with their own response. A change.org petition for Senator Walsh to shadow a nurse for a 12 hour shift has over 770,000 signatures. You can add your name here.
This isn't the first time (and it won't be the last time) the nursing profession has been demeaned and ridiculed --remember Joy Behar stating that only doctors use stethoscopes?! But this one took it a step further perhaps because it belittled the nursing profession in a way that we have not seen before.
When we are facing staffing shortages, violence in the workplace and burnout, the last thing we need is an elected official stating we play cards all day. But here’s the thing about publicly offending a fiercely loyal and passionate community: You tend to get a lot of backlash.
Your turn. Share your thoughts and feelings about Senator Walsh's comments (but only after you've wrapped up your poker game).