Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday appointed four new members of the Minnesota Board of Nursing, replacing the board’s vice president and three others.
The appointments follow a vow made by Dayton last year to take “whatever action is necessary” to reform the board and protect patients after the Star Tribune reported that the board licensed nurses despite records of patient harm and unsafe practice. In November, the governor said the board was “asleep at the switch” and that some members had told him they felt unqualified to question the staff’s approach to discipline.
The new members of the 16-member board are Jan Rainey of Minneapolis, Michelle Harker of Apple Valley, June McLachlan of Hermantown and Sheila Robley of Faribault. They begin serving Monday. Dayton chose the four from a group of 22 applicants.
McLachlan, a nursing instructor at Lake Superior College in Duluth, called the Star Tribune’s findings “alarming” and said she applied for the position to provide experience to the board. She has been a nurse for over 30 years and said she will make patient safety a priority.
“I am very aware of the issues in our profession concerning public safety,” she said.
Robley, who works as a nurse for the Department of Corrections, said she applied to the board because she’s close to retirement and wants to focus her skills in another area.
Harker, a former assistant dean at Hamline University School of Law and a nursing board member from 2007 to 2011, could not be reached for comment. Rainey, a receptionist, declined to comment. Harker and Rainey represent the public on the board.
The new members replace board Vice President Stuart Williams and Marilyn Krasowski, whose terms end Monday. Two seats were vacant following the departures of Jason George and David Brewer last year.
The Board of Nursing’s executive director, Shirley Brekken, could not be reached for comment.
Dayton signed new measures last month passed by the Legislature that required the board to immediately suspend nurses who pose an imminent risk of harm.