Saturday, March 24, 2007

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Direct Entry Nursing program?

A: It is an accelerated three-year program for individuals who have a bachelor's degree in a field unrelated to nursing to get an RN and a master's degree in a nursing specialty (for example to become a nurse-midwife, pediatric nurse practitioner, etc.) At the end of the first 15 months students become registered nurses, then spend the next two years working on their MSN (Master's of Science in Nursing). Students must be able to become licensed as registered nurses before beginning the master's degree part of the program so that they can participate in the clinical courses that are required. The intent of the program is for people to stay through the completion of the master's degree.

Q: You knew when you began the program that it did not offer a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN), so why are you upset about this now?

A: I agreed to attend the Direct Entry program even though I knew that I would not get a BSN because I was not aware that Wisconsin State Law requires graduation from a school of nursing in order to become an RN. We were told that Marquette had a "special agreement" with Wisconsin in order to allow us to become RNs without BSNs. Marquette is a reputable institution, and they had already been running the Direct Entry program for several years, so I assumed that this "special agreement" must be legitimate.

After I moved to Mississippi and I was unable to obtain a license here I began to research the nursing laws and licensure procedures in Wisconsin and Mississippi to find out how it happened that I was able to get licensed there, but not here. This research revealed that the "special agreement" between Marquette and the State directly conflicts with the Nurse Practice Act (441.04) in Wisconsin, which clearly requires graduation in order to become licensed as an RN.

The bottom line: it does not matter what I agreed to when I began the Direct Entry program at Marquette if what they are doing is not legal. Marquette can't force its students to sign a form allowing them to break the law. I have not been able to find any official evidence that the "special agreement" that Marquette has with Wisconsin is legal.