Nurses Playing Cards: ONA’s Response to State Senator Walsh’s Comments

Like nurses across the nation, we were taken aback by a Washington State legislator’s comment about nurses playing cards during their shift.   Sadly, State Senator Maureen Walsh is not alone in her misunderstanding about the role of nurses in our nation’s healthcare system.  While we are dismayed with her ignorance about what nurses actually do, this gaffe reinforces a gap in knowledge in the public about the specialized training and education required to meet the unique care needs of our patients.

The truth is that nurses across the nation are working dangerously fatigued, which can lead to jeopardized patient care. Nurses not receiving rest breaks, compounded with other unsafe staffing practices, is no laughing matter. This is why nurses across the nation are pushing for legislation to protect themselves and their patients, including in Ohio where we are advocating to end the dangerous practice of mandatory overtime with House Bill 144.  Nurses are leaders in our nation’s healthcare system.  From bedside nursing to advance practices, we are highly skilled professionals who make a difference every single day.

We appreciate State Senator Walsh’s commitment to shadow a nurse. Our association and members also welcome Ohio legislators who are willing to do the same. Nurses are away from their loved ones during holidays, offer healing hands, keep it together in trauma and tragedy and work with all people amid circumstances from birth to death. It is hard to understand this demanding profession without experiencing it firsthand.

ONA remains committed to amplifying the voice of nurses who choose this amazing profession, and we wish to express our gratitude to our elected professions who know the critical role nurses play in the lives of Ohioans every single day.