Sen. Maureen Walsh, R-College Place, pauses during an interview Monday at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Walsh angered nurses by commenting in a speech last week that some nurses may spend a lot of time playing cards in rural hospitals, as she debated a Senate bill that would require uninterrupted meal and rest breaks for nurses. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Sen. Maureen Walsh, R-College Place, pauses during an interview Monday at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Walsh angered nurses by commenting in a speech last week that some nurses may spend a lot of time playing cards in rural hospitals, as she debated a Senate bill that would require uninterrupted meal and rest breaks for nurses. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

State lawmaker apologizes for nursing comments

Was concerned that rules in a proposed bill would be a hardship for small hospitals.

Associated Press

OLYMPIA — A Washington state lawmaker who angered nurses by saying some may spend a lot of time playing cards in rural hospitals says she wishes she could reel that comment back in.

State Sen. Maureen Walsh, a Republican, said Monday her comments were taken out of context and that she was concerned that rules in a proposed bill would be a hardship for small hospitals.

The Senate bill would require uninterrupted meal and rest breaks for nurses. Walsh wanted an amendment that would exclude hospitals with fewer than 25 beds, saying she thought those nurses “probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.”

That sparked a petition demanding Walsh shadow a nurse on a 12-hour shift and over a half million people signed on. Walsh on Monday agreed to shadow a nurse.

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