Why Nurses are Sick of Maureen Walsh and People Like Her

Recently, nurses have had a lot to fight for. The plight of nurses and poor working conditions have been increasingly prevalent in the public news circuit thanks to stories like the horrific loss of nurse Lynne Truxillo, who passed away from complications of a patient attack, the fatal med error by a former Vanderbilt nurse, and the narrowly avoided nursing strike in New York City. With the added attention given to these issues and intensifying pressure from nurses across the country, many state legislatures are introducing and debating bills relating to nursing practice, working conditions, and healthcare practices.

In Washington state, SHB 1155 was introduced to protect nurses who work 12 hours and ensure they receive adequate lunch and rest breaks, as well as a limit on mandatory overtime. In an effort to cause problems with the bill, an amendment has been added to mandate 8 hour shifts for nurses, which deviates from the industry standard of 12 hour shifts. This amendment to the bill is widely unsupported by nurses, other healthcare workers, and respected industry groups such as the Washington State Hospital Association. The negative impact would be felt by all patients across the state of Washington and a terrible example would be made for the rest of the country.

Although this is an incredibly important issue, why all the crazy fuss on social media and in the news? The main supporter of the amendment to the bill, State Senator Maureen Walsh, made astonishing comments on April 16th during a floor debate pertaining to her feelings about the work load she feels her state’s nurses are carrying. Some of the comments were as follows:

“If nurses get tired, let’s stop letting them do 12 hours shifts. Let’s make them do 8-hour shifts. 12 hours, I know they want it but, then they come back and start talking out of both sides of their mouth and telling us how tired they are. I understand making sure that we have rest breaks and things like that. But, I also understand that we need to care for patients first and foremost. I would submit to you that those nurses probably do get breaks! They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day!”

-State Senator Maureen Walsh

These comments are not only disrespectful and inflammatory, but they show a disgusting trend among some people who are in a position of power or influence as well as regular citizens, and that is complete disregard for the nursing profession. This attitude is ever-growing, and certainly is felt by nurses on a daily basis as they are being treated like a warm body who is there to work non-stop and put up with any disrespect, violence, or poor condition that is thrown their way without a second thought.

Understandably, nurses, other healthcare workers, and physicians are coming out in droves against Senator Walsh and her inexcusable comments. Why? Because everyone is sick of this attitude and those who use it to fight against beneficial policies that would make healthcare better. A similar situation was seen with Joy Behar’s 2015 comments on The View about a nurse wearing “a doctor’s stethoscope” and how “hilarious” she found it. Healthcare workers, nurses, and physicians among many others came out for nurses as well as several advertisers, who pulled valuable advertising from The View.

The facts about nursing conditions are simply that – facts. Poor working conditions, such as missed breaks and extensive mandatory overtime, are translating to poor nursing care. We know that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the USA. Why would we want to continue to mistreat our nurses and risk the continuation of these errors? We are not only risking the lives of patients, but also the health and well-being of our nurses and other healthcare workers. Perpetuating ideas such as those by Joy Behar and State Senator Walsh is going to continue a detrimental trend in healthcare and lead to worsening outcomes for our patients. We can no longer sit silently.

If you’d like to stand behind nurses, please speak up with your state legislature when able, and drop a line or two to State Senator Walsh. Nurses and patients alike thank you.

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7 thoughts on “Why Nurses are Sick of Maureen Walsh and People Like Her

  1. Hello to my dear fellow nurses, docs, patients,
    We know that nurses are crucial to providing care to patients 24×7.
    I moved from California to Washington DC, and I find that there is mandatory overtime here, and nurses are being abused and placed in difficult situations with high ratios and high acuity patients and therefore there is early burnout and the risk of errors and death is higher in patients and it is proven.
    Because of this situation passionate nurses begin to question themselves and believe they aren’t built for this career.
    Why Wouldn’t anyone in their common sense want to offer the best laws with safe patient care as their priority.
    We get it, it’s a business and the leadership doesn’t care.
    Therefore we need laws to protect nurses and patients.
    Safe and happy nurses make for safe patient care delivery..

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  2. I have been nurse for 16 years and a CNA before that. I have stayed with dying parents who have no family for hours without pay so they wouldn’t die alone. I never got lunch break because I was the only nurse taking care of 60 Alzheimer’s patients with only 2 CNAs on 3rd shift. I have bought thing for patents who needed stuff and done without myself, there are many patents who never see anyone for months at a time. I would stay with patents who were crying because they were lonely and missed family just to talk or who even thought you were here daughter do to Alzheimer’s disease. I would set and cry because of patents who just a few months earlier knew everyone and now are laying in bed having to be fed and changed and were to the point of not speaking. So to say we spend hours playing cards is a bunch of bull. You need to go spend some time with nurses in all types of places. I would like
    this job you are talking about with the pay you are talking about, I live check to check so pay isn’t what you think. I always bring work home with my and have to explain to my 4 year old granddaughter that I’m raising alone why i can’t play with her. So please get a life and know what nursing is all about. It’s a love for the job not for money!

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  3. That State Senator is both callous and crude.
    She’d better hope, that she doesn’t suffer a major medical problem, while out in the country.
    However, even if she did. Those angels in white, will be saving her sorry a$$.
    Typical politician.
    Knows nothing at all, about what they are discussing.
    But has to say something, to make it look, like she does.
    But then again, it is the Communist State of Washington.

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  4. I’ve been a nurse for over 20 years. This is beyond offensive. It takes a delusional and/or no mind ignoramus to make a public comment as such. Congratulations Senator Walsh…the world now knows what you are.

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  5. The comments from Senator Walsh are inexcusable. I work at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle as a Critical Care RN. I’ve been at this hospital for 28 years and the times I’ve had an uninterrupted lunch break are very few: there is no procedure to cover breaks and never has been. It would be wonderful if we were able to have break relief nurses like the state of California but so far we’ve been denied this in Washington State. Senator Walsh needs to spend a shift or two at Harborview, the only Level One trauma center serving 4 1/2 states to see what a working nurse really does all shift.

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