Thursday, August 2, 2007

Step #7: Third Letter To Dean Miller

August 2, 2007

Dr. Judith Miller
Associate Dean for Graduate Programs & Research
Marquette University College of Nursing
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201


Dear Dr. Miller:

I am sorry that you were not able to attend the Wisconsin Board of Nursing meeting on July 26th in Madison. I am hopeful, and I think you may be as well, that the issue of the legality of the RN licensure of Marquette’s Direct Entry students can be finally resolved at the Board of Nursing meeting on August 30th. I will not be able to attend the August meeting myself.

There is a strong case for requesting BSN degrees for Direct Entry students, particularly because Marquette has been marking the box for "BSN" on the licensure applications of its Direct Entry students for the last 8 years, and because Direct Entry students complete all of the nursing theory and practical coursework required of their regular BSN students.

However, in the interests of resolving the problem in a timely manner, I propose a compromise. A dual purpose would be served if Marquette University were to issue ADN degrees to Direct Entry students (past, present, and future) who successfully complete, or have completed, the 15-month pre-MSN portion of the program.

If Marquette’s Direct Entry nursing students were awarded ADN degrees at the end of the pre-MSN phase, these students would then be legally eligible for RN licensure in Wisconsin: which is what Marquette promises in the "Memorandum of Understanding." Clearing up this loophole would prevent Marquette University from facing liability around this issue from former, current or future Direct Entry students.

In addition, if Direct Entry students were issued ADN degrees, it would discourage students from intentionally misusing the Direct Entry program by planning to only stay through the first 15 months of the program. The pre-MSN portion of Marquette’s Direct Entry program is significantly more expensive, more competitive to enter, and requires much more work and more advanced work (including 9 graduate credits) than would ever be expected at a regular ADN program. For these reasons it is unlikely that issuing ADNs to Direct Entry students would significantly increase the drop-out rate at the end of the pre-MSN phase.

In order for this plan to make Marquette’s Direct Entry students legally eligible for RN licensure under the Wisconsin Nurse Practice Act 441.04 and the Wisconsin Administrative Code N 2.03 (1)(c), Marquette will need to become accredited and board-approved to issue ADN degrees. I am sure this can be accomplished since Marquette is already accredited and board-approved to issue BSN degrees.


Lydia Bertrand

cc: Dr. Kerry Kosmoski-Goepfert, Associate Dean, Marquette University College of Nursing
Madeline Wake, Provost, Marquette University
Father Wild, President, Marquette University
Marquette University Board of Trustees
Wisconsin Board of Nursing
Colleen Baird, Legal Counsel, Wisconsin Board of Nursing
Celia M. Jackson, Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Regulation & Licensing