A Washington State Senator is facing backlash after she criticized nurses during a recent speech on the Senate floor by suggesting that they spend a "considerable amount" of their time on break playing cards. As Sen. Maureen Walsh's comments went viral, nurses across the country fired back at the insinuation that they do not work hard.
One user posted an open letter on Facebook urging people to send Walsh decks of playing cards.
"I don't know any nurses who play cards, Senator Walsh. I know nurses who care for babies who were born with their spines on the outside of their bodies and brains that won't stop bleeding," Shy Braaten wrote in the since-deleted post. "I know nurses who hold infants that can't stop crying because they were born addicted to heroin and methamphetamines."
After the letter went viral, hundreds of people sent decks of cards to the senator's office. The UPS location near her office received over 600 packages with playing cards addressed to Walsh, and her office received over 1,700 decks from upset nurses across the country.
Walsh apologized for her comments, which came during a debate about a bill that would guarantee uninterrupted breaks and overtime for certain healthcare workers.
"I was tired, and in the heat of argument on the Senate floor, I said some things about nurses that were taken out of context -- but still they crossed the line," Walsh said. "I really don't believe nurses at our critical access hospitals spend their days playing cards, but I did say it, and I wish I could reel it back."