Bill Requires Uninterrupted Breaks for Nurses

It’s taken several years of trying, but hospital nurses scored a victory in Olympia Wednesday when the Legislature put the final OK on a bill to improve their working conditions. Dan Frizzell from the Washington State House Democratic Caucus has more.

An uninterrupted lunch period or coffee break is something that most American workers take for granted. For nurses in many Washington hospitals, it’s a rarity. Combining that with the long shifts that are typical in hospitals raises the chances of medical errors, which are now the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. The state House has passed legislation to fix this every year since the mid-teens, only to see it stall in the Senate.  On Wednesday, Representative Marcus Riccelli, a Democrat from Spokane, celebrated the final OK of his bill requiring these helpers be given uninterrupted meal and rest breaks. Here’s Riccelli:

RICCELLI: “Of all the professions that we have, we need to make sure that our frontline care workers are getting adequate meal and rest breaks so that they can make sure that our loved ones are taken care of.  That’s what this bill’s about, it really about making sure that they are able to perform at the best of their ability and can do their duties.”

Riccelli’s House Bill 1155 joins several others awaiting the governor’s signature while the Legislature moves toward its adjournment this Sunday. In Olympia, I’m Dan Frizzell.