State Sen. Walsh says mandatory breaks for nurses can’t work everywhere
Half a million people had signed two petitions on change.org demanding that Washington state Sen. Maureen Walsh spend a 12-hour shift shadowing a nurse.
The petitions were in response to the College Place Republican’s comment during a Senate debate Tuesday that nurses in the state’s small, rural hospitals “probably play cards for a considerable part of the day.”
She later told the Herald she regretted the comment, which drew the wrath of nurses across the nation.
The state Legislature was debating SHB 1155, which would require uninterrupted meal and rest breaks and strengthen protections against mandatory overtime for nurses and some other medical workers.
Walsh was arguing for an amendment, which passed, that would exclude rural hospitals with 25 beds or fewer from the bill’s requirements.
An amendment she proposed to limit shifts to eight hours also passed, to her surprise.
She had offered it only to make a point, but it was passed by the Democrat-controlled state Senate.
The Washington State Nurses Association opposed both amendments.
“I would like to take a stand and petition to have the senator experience what really happens during an RN’s 12-hour shift,” said one change.org petition. “She most likely won’t be playing UNO.”
It had almost 500,000 signatures by Sunday afternoon.
A second change.org petition said, “I demand that you remain with that nurse the full 12 hours, eat when she does, go to the bathroom when she does and leave for home when she does.”
It had 36,000 signatures Sunday afternoon.