Friday, October 5, 2007

Legal Interpretation of "Diploma of Graduation" Presented to the Wisconsin Board of Nursing Yesterday

Here are links to pdf files of the documents that Colleen Baird presented to the Wisconsin Board of Nursing yesterday with short explanations:

The Memorandum (10 pages)
This document basically says that since the phrase "Diploma of Graduation" is not defined in the law, then the generally accepted meaning of the words are to be used. She twists the dictionary definition of the words "diploma" and "graduation" to include the "Certificate of Completion" that Marquette's Direct Entry students are given at the end of the pre-MSN phase. She argues that it is legal for Direct Entry students to be licensed as RNs in Wisconsin under the Nurse Practice Act because they get this "Certificate of completion" from Marquette. It is very creative - you should check it out.

Although I completely disagree with this legal interpretation that the "Certificate of Completion" that Marquette gives to Direct Entry students at the completion of the pre-MSN phase of the program legally constitutes a "Diploma of Graduation" under the Wisconsin Nurse Practice Act, this document could help me to obtain licensure in states other than Wisconsin. You better bet I'll be holding on to it in case I move to another state in the future.

In fact, this document could also help other students who, like me, completed the pre-MSN phase of Marquette's Direct Entry program but moved out of Wisconsin before completion of an MSN degree. The document could help people in this situation to obtain RN licensure in their new state of residence. If you are one of these students, then please feel free to print off a copy of the pdf file and send it in to the Board of Nursing in your new state if you are having a problem with your licensure application!


Brochure about Marquette's Direct Entry Program (2 pages)
I don't have a pdf of this file, but it just gives some basic information about Marquette's Direct Entry program like the courses that are a part of the pre-MSN phase and things like that.

Direct Entry MSN Nursing Program (1 page)
This chart shows each cohort of Marquette's and UWM's Direct Entry programs and lists how many applications they got, how many students were accepted, and how many students dropped out.

I am very curious how they are defining "applied to the program" because there is a huge inconsistency between what this chart lists and what I was told by Marquette administrators when I was a student in the Direct Entry program. I was in the 6th cohort (04-05) and I was told at that time that there had been about 90 applicants for my class, yet this chart indicates that there were 672 applications for that year. I am also curious how they are defining "dropped out of the program" because only about half of my cohort actually went on to the MSN part of the program, and fewer than that graduated from the MSN program.

Analysis of 60 DE schools AACN list (10 pages)
Marquette has been claiming that their are 59 other Direct Entry MSN programs other than theirs across the country to make it look like programs like Marquette's Direct Entry program are widely accepted. (AACN stands for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and they list of 60 Direct Entry MSN type programs in the U.S.) The only problem with this is that most of these other programs are not run the same way as Marquette's program, and thus these other programs follow the Nurse Practice Acts of their own states for a number of reasons. The Board of Nursing researched all 60 of these programs and how they are run.

Some of these programs do award a BSN or another kind of degree or diploma at the completion of the pre-MSN phase, and some programs require students to already be registered nurses in order to apply to the program in the first place. One thing that was left off of this chart was whether or not the state that the program is in legally requires graduation or a degree or diploma in order to become licensed. Some states' Nurse Practice Acts are worded in such a way that they do not actually require graduation in order to be legally eligible for licensure in their state - so a program run like Marquette's would be legal in a state like that. Wisconsin state law, on the other hand, clearly requires graduation.

The "Special Agreement" (4 pages)
They included the version that was altered after it was approved by the Board. I explain more about the two versions of the "Special Agreement" here.

Affidavit (1 page)
I posted about the Affidavit signed by Madeline Wake and how the "Special Agreement" was altered after it was approved by the Board of Nursing here.