Monday, May 7, 2007

The University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee's Direct Entry Nursing Program

The University of Wisconsin -Milwaukee (UWM) started a Direct Entry Nursing program shortly after Marquette University started theirs. Until recently I had not done much research on UWM's program since the legal basis for their program is not really relevant to my campaign with Marquette. I imagined that UWM probably had some kind of written "special agreement" with the Wisconsin Department of Regulation & Licensing (DRL) similar to the one that Marquette claims to have, possibly even in the form of a letter from Mr. Wayne Austin to the Dean of UWM's College of Nursing like Marquette's.

Since UWM's Direct Entry program does not meet the Wisconsin Nurse Practice Act by providing a degree to its students before they become RNs, it seems like there should be some kind of formal written documentation that acknowledges Wisconsin's acceptance of this program. When an open records review of all documents relating to Direct Entry nursing programs in Wisconsin was requested of Celia Jackson, the Secretary of the Wisconsin DRL, she responded:

Concerning your request . . . for documents authorizing a direct entry nursing program at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, my staff has been unable to find such documents. Wayne Austin's personal drive and e-mail has also been searched for information concerning direct entry programs. Only the 1999 letter from Mr. Austin to the Marquette School of Nursing was found which is already attached.

So according to the DRL, there is apparently NO formal documentation whatsoever that UWM's Direct Entry program is considered valid by the State of Wisconsin, even though the program violates state law by not conferring degrees to its students before they become RN's.