Nurses weren't pleased last week when a lawmaker said nurses in Washington state's rural hospitals "probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day." They've come up with an interesting way to voice that displeasure. GOP state Sen. Maureen Walsh says she has received 1,700 decks of cards in the mail as of Wednesday, per USA Today. "I like poker as much as anyone, but I think I'm pretty well stocked up right now," Walsh says in a post on her website, adding she'll donate the cards to nursing homes and veterans' centers. Walsh has offered multiple apologies for her comments, which have drawn 10,000 emails and more than 35,000 phone calls since Friday.
Still, she remains opposed to HB 1155, which would grant uninterrupted rest and meal breaks for nurses at hospitals across the state. "Many already are operating in the red, and [having to hire extra nurses to facilitate the breaks] could put them under," Walsh says. After passing the state House and Senate on Wednesday, the bill now heads to the governor's desk. Walsh, meanwhile, may be headed to a hospital to see nurses at work. More than 765,000 people have signed a Change.org petition asking Walsh to shadow a nurse on a 12-hour shift. According to her website, "Walsh said she looks forward to receiving the petition and will be glad to accept." (Read more Washington state stories.)