OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state Sen. Maureen Walsh is now apologizing for comments she made about nurses playing cards on the job.
“If I could ever reel back in a comment, that would be the one,” Walsh said.
CNN reported that the Republican legislator said nurses in smaller hospitals "probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day" during a debate on the Senate floor in Olympia, Washington, on Tuesday.
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"I had been on a 12-hour shift that day when I made that comment and I was tired and exhausted and, in retrospect, I wish I would've used a little bit better analogy," Walsh told KIRO.
In days, more than 650,000 people signed online petitions demanding Walsh shadow a nurse for a 12-hour shift.
"You save lives, this is what you do every day," nurse Jane Hopkins told KIRO. "When people come in and they're sick they expect you to be able to look after them and when someone insinuates that they're not doing that, it's very upsetting."
Walsh was discussing SHB 1155, a measure that mandates breaks for nurses. She was arguing for an amendment that would exclude small, rural hospitals and said her comments were taken out of context.
“When I made my comment I was just trying to draw a differentiation between how this policy would apply in a very small critical access hospital in rural Washington versus one of our bigger hospitals,” Walsh said. “I certainly didn't mean to imply nurses are playing cards all day. I love nurses.”
Supporters of the bill hope the new attention helps get the measure passed this week.
Cox Media Group