Saturday, March 10, 2007

Response From DRL (Email)

Date: Friday, March 9
To: Lydia Bertrand
From: Colleen Baird

Dear Ms. Bertrand: This is a follow-up to my email response on March 5,2007, regarding the Graduate Nursing Direct-Entry Program and your letter to Secretary Celia Jackson, dated March 6, 2007. You sent the following question:

I am looking for some information about Marquette's Direct Entry Nursing program. I have been told that Marquette has a special agreement with the state of Wisconsin allowing their Direct Entry students to become RN's without obtaining a BSN degree. I would like a copy of this formal agreement. Thank you.
Lydia Bertrand

I stated that I did not believe that we had a copy of a formal agreement and recommended that you contact the school for a copy. I apologize, but unfortunately, I was not familiar with the history or documentation for this program. The individual who handled such matters had just retired. However,with the assistance of staff, two documents were located which should satisfy your request. These documents are attached for your convenience. I will also send a hard copy by U.S. Mail. The first document is a letter dated February 1, 1999, from Wayne Austin, former legal counsel for the Board of Nursing. The second document is a letter dated December 15, 1998, from Madeline Wake, Dean of Marquette University. These letters constitute the "agreement" between the Department, the Board of Nursing and Marquette University for the direct-entry advance three year advance nursing program.

The letter from Dean Wake inquires whether students who have completed the basic nursing education and progress to the MSN phase of the program would meet the intent of Chapter N.03 "has graduated from a board-approved school of professional nursing. " The letter from Attorney Wayne Austin confirms this interpretation; that participants in the direct-entry for graduate nursing program who complete the basic nursing education phase of the program would qualify both to sit for the NCLEX and for licensure to practice professional nursing. Mr. Austin states that the Board's approval was made pursuant to its authority to establish minimum standards for schools of professional nurses and approve new nursing programs under sec. N1.06, Wis. Admin. Code. It further confirms that Marquette University had an existing approved nursing program.

The statutory authority for licensure and approval of schools of professional nursing is found in secs. 441. 04 and 441.01(3), Wis. Stats. (Nurse Practice Act). The administrative rules in Chapter N 1, Wis. Admin Code, codify the process for approval of schools of nursing and nursing programs. I am not aware of any other statutes which are pertinent to RN licensure of individuals who do not hold a "diploma of graduation." The basis upon which Wisconsin determined that you were eligible to sit for the NCLEX, and to obtain a professional nursing license, was the receipt of a statement from Marquette University verifying that you had completed the basic nursing education phase of the three year graduate (master's level) nursing program.

I trust that this is the information you were seeking and it is helpful in your efforts to obtain licensure in Mississippi. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Colleen M. Baird
Legal Counsel
Wisconsin Board of Nursing
I will post the letters that were attached to this e-mail as soon as I figure out how to put up pdf files.