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Senator Creates Firestorm With Nurses Playing Cards Comment

Lawmaker has received thousands of angry calls and comments - and 667 packages of playing cards in the mail.

Published: April 24, 2019

NOT PLAYING WITH A FULL DECK NOT PLAYING WITH A FULL DECK Washington state Sen. Maureen Walsh has come under fire for her flippant remark about nurses sitting around playing cards.

A Washington state lawmaker who said that not all nurses deserve breaks because they just sit around playing cards has received more than 30,000 angry calls, letters and emails — and nearly 700 decks of playing cards in the mail.


State Sen. Maureen Walsh (R-Walla Walla) dealt herself a bad hand from the Senate floor last week while she opposed a proposed state bill mandating uninterrupted lunch breaks and rest periods for hospital nurses. Ms. Walsh was arguing for an amendment that would exempt smaller, rural hospitals from the break requirement. The amendment that was adopted, but Ms. Walsh's flippant remark stole the headlines.


"I would submit to you those nurses probably do get breaks... They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day," she said. Watch for yourself here.

Apparently not playing with a full deck, Sen. Walsh very quickly discovered that was a poor hand to play. Her comments quickly went viral and incited backlash that included snarky memes and hashtags like #nursesplaycards, nurses photographing themselves mailing playing cards to the senator and a petition to shadow a nurse for a 12-hour shift (a challenge Sen. Walsh accepted).


The Tumwater, Wash., UPS says it received 667 packages of playing cards Tuesday addressed to Sen. Walsh. Many nurses posted Amazon delivery tracking notices to their Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Following the backlash, Sen. Walsh apologized for the comments. "I wish I could reel that comment back in. I certainly did not mean to imply that my nurses sit around playing cards all day," she said. "I have great respect for nurses. My mother was an RN for many years."

Insert Mother May I joke here.

Jared Bilski

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