Washington state lawmaker’s comments raise ire of nurses

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state lawmaker has angered nurses by commenting in a speech that some nurses may spend a lot of time playing cards in rural hospitals.

The Olympian reports that state Sen. Maureen Walsh, a Republican, made the comments this week while debating a Senate bill that would require uninterrupted meal and rest breaks for nurses.

Walsh wants an amendment that would exclude hospitals with fewer than 25 beds.

She says small, rural hospitals “that literally serve a handful of individuals” will have trouble staying open and nurses in those settings “probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.”

A Washington State Nurses Association blog about the comments drew so many readers Friday that the site crashed.

Walsh didn’t respond to a request for comment from the newspaper.