Thursday, February 22, 2007

Some Backround Information

I was in the 6th cohort of the Direct Entry nursing program at Marquette University. This program is designed for individuals who have a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field to get an RN and a master's degree in a nursing specialty in an accelerated 3 year program. The program seemed perfect for me at the time: I already had a B.A. in Mathematics and English Literature, and my dream was to become a Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM). Going through a more traditional path would mean starting from scratch to earn a BSN (bachelor's of science in nursing) and then working for two years as an RN before I could even apply to a CNM program.

There was no way for me to have known at the time that I was applying to Marquette that I had just met the man who would become my husband. We got engaged about half way through the RN portion of my program. He was in seminary, and the following summer was obligated to head down to Louisiana to serve there in his home state. I decided to complete the RN portion of the Direct-Entry program at Marquette, and then move to Louisiana after our wedding in August.

My husband had been assigned to a church in New Orleans, which was destroyed with our home in Hurricane Katrina only 9 days after our wedding. We were stranded in Wisconsin so I went ahead and passed NCLEX and got my nursing license in Wisconsin. We were homeless until March of 2006 when he was called to serve two small parishes in southern Mississippi.

This is where the problems with my nursing license began. I applied for a nursing licence in Mississippi as soon as we moved. In June, just a few weeks before I gave birth to our first child, I received a letter notifying me that my application for a license had been denied. The only reason that they cannot grant me a license is because my official Marquette transcript does not contain a graduation date. Mississippi state law states that in order to be eligible for an RN, one must graduate from an accredited nursing program.

But what about Wisconsin? As it turns out, a similar law is part of the Nurse Practice Act in Wisconsin (check out the pdf in the links section). So how on Earth did I get an RN in Wisconsin?

Well, Marquette University provided the Wisconsin Department of Regulation & Licensing with a "Statement of Graduation" for me, but they will not put a graduation date on my transcript.