Nurses Playing Cards” memes are sweeping the internet after a Washington Senator said nurses spend “considerable” parts of the work day “playing cards.” Maureen Walsh, a Republican senator from Walla Walla in Washington, made the comment as the Senate debated a bill, SHB 1155, that would guarantee nurses in the state uninterrupted meal times and breaks.
“By putting these types of mandates on a critical access hospital that literally serves a handful of individuals, I would submit to you those nurses probably do get breaks,” Walsh said. “They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.”
Walsh received swift backlash for the comment, and attempted to defend her stance by telling KEPR-TV that smaller, rural hospitals will have trouble staying open if the bill passes.“The fact is 61% of our critical access hospitals are in the red and the mandated breaks and lunch hours are not an issue in these facilities across the state. These are smaller, rural hospitals with much fewer patients than our urban hospitals and the bill is not necessary for them in meeting the needs of their patients or the hospital’s budget.”
A Washington State Nurses Association blog post about the comments drew so many readers Friday that the site crashed. The group called the comment “disrespectful and patronizing.” In a statement, the Washington State Nurses Association said that Walsh’s comments demonstrated “zero logic.” The organization’s director of nursing practice and health policy, Matthew Keller, called the comments “demeaning” and said, “No, Senator, nurses are not sitting around playing cards. They are taking care of your neighbors, your family, your community.”
The hashtags #maureenwalsh and #nursesplaycards went viral on social media quickly after news of the comment spread, and comedian Kathy Griffin even joined the fray Friday, tweeting “Thank you of alerting me to a group that even I am not stupid enough to piss off. Ever.”
As expected, industrious tweeters also deployed a number of devastating, top-shelf memes directed at Walsh and her comment. “Go Fish” memes were abundant:
Some played on the severity of how wrong Walsh’s comments actually were, and gave some insight into what nurses deal with on a daily basis, as opposed to happily playing cards in the break room. Many included the “feeling cute,” social media trend, adding “might play cards, IDK” text overlaying pictures of bloody hospital scenes.
Many made sure to include Walsh in their memes, and directly called her out for her attacking an entire group of people who have helped save her life in the past when she suffered a heart attack.
In 2017, Walsh suffered a heart attack and missed two weeks of work, reported the Tri-City Herald at the time. Walsh told the newspaper that she had been admitted to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle after complaining of chest pains. Later, doctors told her that she had a minor heart attack that required a procedure to put two stents in partially blocked arteries. The Herald article noted that in a statement after her release, Walsh praised her medical team.
Others churned out some truly ironic gems, including a meme with Samuel L. Jackson as he “stares motherf–kerly” at a patient going into cardiac arrest, and another commenting on how Walsh incurred the wrath of an entire community.
“When you’re playing cards and a patient has the nerve to go into cardiac arrest,” one caption read. Another mentioned how nurses came out in “full force” with cards memes.
There was no shortage of gifs and photos either, with many indicating how badly Walsh had angered the nursing community.
“#maureenwalsh the senator from Washington, who thinks nurses play cards for the majority of their 12 shift,” one user wrote. “Cuz that’s what’s happening instead of saving lives…4million nurses in the US, that’s a whole lot of votes you just lost senator.”
One group of nurses even posted a picture of them all grouped around a “patient” playing cards, while another posted a picture of herself showing her student nurse what “nurses do best.”
Check out a few more of the best “nurses playing cards” memes below:
Walsh did appear to regret her comments, and told The Olympian on Saturday she didn’t mean to target the nursing community in a negative way, and that her comments were not intended to be malicious.
“I was tired,” she said. “I said something I wish I hadn’t.”
She also said she has the “greatest respect for nurses” and her mother was a registered nurse for many years, CNN reports.