This senator said nurses "sit around playing cards" most of the day. Big mistake. Big. Huge.

A Washington state senator is getting an earful from constituents who are angry with her attack on nurses.

Republican state senator Maureen Walsh (R) inexplicably put her foot in her mouth—and pissed off about 3 million nurses—with her comments on a Washington state bill that would mandate uninterrupted breaks for nurses and offer them protection from mandatory overtime.

On April 16, she stood on the legislative floor and, with a straight face, told her fellow lawmakers that nurses in rural hospitals should be exempt from those legal protections because they "probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day."


Big mistake. Big. Huge. Nurses around the country—along with people who actually know nurses—immediately and rightfully pounced.

Seriously, Senator Walsh. What were you thinking?

A Facebook post from one nurse has been shared 37,000 times because he totally nails it.

Nurse Dave Mattox wrote:

"Yes, I heard Senator Maureen Walsh’s comment about 'nurses playing cards while working.' I gotta be honest, as a nurse I think it’s time we take responsibility for this comment. You see, it’s our fault she thought this, have you ever seen a nurses “poker face”? It’s one of a kind. So of course Maureen Walsh has to assume you only get a poker face that good by playing cards all the time.

So Maureen please let me clear this up for you. We didn’t get this poker face by playing cards, but we did get it by the hands we were dealt. Oh the damn hands we have been dealt. Sometimes we are dealt a lifeless baby, blue with no pulse. Mom is in panic. As extreme as this may sound, don’t worry Maureen we have been dealt this hand before, and guess what? We use our poker face and we look mom right in the eyes and we say 'we will take care of your baby.'"

Yes, I heard Senator Maureen Walsh’s comment about “nurses playing cards while working”. I gotta be honest, as a nurse I...

Posted by Dave Mattox on Friday, April 19, 2019

"Sometimes the hands we are dealt are not as fast paced but damn do they hurt. Sometimes we are dealt the hand of lung Xray results of a beautiful teenage cancer patient who was hoping they were getting better and this was just a cold, hell pneumonia would even do. Unfortunately, it’s not, the cancer has spread and we as nurses know it isn’t our place to tell her. So we pull the only wild card we got; we bluff…and we bluff so damn hard. We laugh, we joke with her, and we get her comfortable for the night because we know how the cards are going to fall.

I don’t blame you for your comment Maureen because its really our own fault. Our poker face is just that damn good. But here’s the best secret of all about nurses; if you or your loved one are ever dealt a life or death emergency and all hope is gone…you have prayed every prayer you can think of…and our chances of winning the pot is slim…..NURSES DON’T FOLD. WE MAY NOT WIN EVERY HAND BUT YOU BETTER BELIEVE WE WILL PLAY EVERY DAMN CARD WE HAVE UP OUR SLEEVES."

Well said, Nurse Mattox.

Walsh also tacked on an amendment limiting shifts to 8 hours because nurses were too tired if they needed uninterrupted breaks.

As if the card-playing insult weren't enough, Senator Walsh also said that if nurses were so tired, they should have their shifts shortened. "Maybe 12-hour shifts aren’t a good idea if you’re so exhausted," she said, according to My Northwest.

Many nurses prefer to work 12-hour shifts to be able to work around family obligations, and longer shifts means fewer transfers of care, which means more consistent care for patients. My mother, who worked as a labor and delivery nurse during my schooling years, worked 12-hours night shifts, which allowed her to be with her kids in the after school hours and have several days off per week.

There is room for debating the pros and cons of different work shift lengths in hospitals, but Walsh wasn't citing informed opinion when she proposed the amendment—she was being flip.

“I ran the amendment to simply say, that if the argument on behalf of this bill is nurses are experiencing exhaustion and fatigue, then perhaps the shifts are too long,” said Senator. Walsh. “This was a statement amendment by the minority party to try to make a point on the floor about the bill.”

“I fully expected a rousing ‘no’ on my amendment,” she said. “I never dreamed that the amendment would hang.”

So . . . she was bluffing and had her bluff called? How fitting.  

Nothing the senator has said really makes any sense. And I can't help but wonder what's behind it all.

First of all, if you've ever known a nurse, you know how damn hard they work. To imply that any nurse anywhere is playing cards for a considerable part of the day is ludicrous.

Second of all, if there were nurses who were playing cards because work was slow, why would you exempt them from mandatory breaks? They can take official breaks during that down time, which is when nurses take breaks when they are able to anyway.

Third, even if some nurses occasionally play cards, so freaking what? There are many jobs where people are paid to be ready and prepared and trained to respond to emergencies. I've never once heard anyone complain about firefighters hanging out in the fire station playing cards on occasion. Is it because nursing is a primarily female-dominated profession vs. a male-dominated one?

Maybe the senator has some underlying issue with nurses. Maybe this was just a partisan move. Whatever the reason, it backfired spectacularly.

You know what? If nurses ever actually do get the down time during a shift to play a game of cards, they absolutely should. The job is stressful enough as it is. So yeah, go ahead and play cards if you get a chance, nurses. And thank you for the countless hours you spend too busy saving lives and caring for the sick and injured to even think about it.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
True

In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

Keep Reading Show less

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

True

The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Chris Evans is playing the lead role in the upcoming Pixar film "Lightyear."

Chris Evans was already skilled at squeezing hearts on social media, cavalierly sharing sweet pics of his adorable dog and piano-playing videos on Instagram, as if we could just casually watch him be a near-perfect man without swooning. And now he's being even more delightful with his gushing giddiness over getting to play his dream role.

The guy is already best known as the studly Marvel superhero Captain America, so what could possibly top that? Pixar, apparently. Evans' ultimate acting dream is being in a Pixar movie. And now that dream is coming true, the most eligible of the Chrises could not be cuter in his expressions of joy.

Sharing the new trailer for "Lightyear"—Pixar's origin story about the astronaut the Buzz Lightyear toy was based on in the "Toy Story" universe—Evans wrote on Twitter:

"I'm covered in goosebumps. And will be every time I watch this trailer. Or hear a Bowie song. Or have any thought whatsoever between now and July cause nothing has ever made me feel more joy and gratitude than knowing I'm a part of this and it's basically always on my mind."

Keep Reading Show less

Cipolla's graph with the benefits and losses that an individual causes to him or herself and causes to others.

Have you ever known someone who was educated, well-spoken and curious, but had a real knack for making terrible decisions and bringing others down with them? These people are perplexing because we're trained to see them as intelligent, but their lives are a total mess.

On the other hand, have you ever met someone who may not have a formal education or be the best with words, but they live wisely and their actions uplift themselves and others?

In 1976, Italian economist Carlo Cipolla wrote a tongue-in-cheek essay called "The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity" that provides a great framework for judging someone's real intelligence. Now, the term "stupid" isn't the most artful way of describing someone who lives unwisely, but in his essay Cipolla uses it in a lighthearted way.

Cipolla explains his theory of intelligence through five basic laws and a matrix that he believes applies to everyone.

Keep Reading Show less