Monday, October 8, 2007

A Message for Marquette Direct Entry Nursing Students

Marquette wants you to think that the pre-MSN phase of the program will make you eligible for RN licensure only in Wisconsin. This is a lie, plain and simple.

Legally, there is no possible way for a school of nursing to make their students eligible for licensure in only one state. If Marquette wishes to make Direct Entry students eligible for licensure in Wisconsin, then they must meet the criteria for licensure in Wisconsin - and the criteria for licensure in Wisconsin is very similar, or even identical, to the criteria for licensure in most other states.

Once you have passed NCLEX (the state board exam) and get a Wisconsin RN license, you should be able to transfer this license to most, if not all, other states in the country. Of course I can not guarantee licensure at the completion of the pre-MSN phase in any state, even Wisconsin, and neither can Marquette. Becoming licensed as an RN requires that you must pass NCLEX among other things that Marquette can not control.

If you have completed the pre-MSN phase of Marquette's Direct Entry program, have become licensed in Wisconsin, did not complete an MSN at Marquette, and wish to get a nursing license in a state other than Wisconsin, these are my suggestions:

  1. Apply to your new state's Board of Nursing for a "license by endorsement." This means transferring a license from one state to another. It may be helpful to submit a copy of your "Certificate of Completion" from Marquette with your application. Dr. Judith Miller may also be willing to send the Board a letter explaining the Direct Entry program a little bit and stating that you "completed the pre-MSN phase of the Direct Entry program."

  2. If there are questions raised about your initial application and you are still told that you can't get a license without "graduation" from a school of nursing, try submitting the Memorandum produced by Colleen Baird, legal counsel for the Wisconsin Board of Nursing, that gives her legal interpretation of the "Certificate of Completion" to legally constitute a "Diploma of Graduation." I have a feeling that most, if not all, state Boards of Nursing would take this document very seriously. A pdf file of the memorandum can be found here, please feel free to print out a copy.

  3. Find out the exact wording of your new state's Nurse Practice Act and their Board of Nursing Rules and Regulations (this may be called something else in some states - in Wisconsin it is the same thing as Chapter N of the Wisconsin Administrative Code). Look for the part that discusses issuing nursing licenses by endorsement. The full text of these documents for most states are available on the internet. In most states the Nurse Practice Act and the Board of Nursing Rules and Regulations are worded to require either "completion of a nursing program," "graduation from a nursing program" or "a degree or diploma from a school of nursing." Marquette has already issued you a "Certificate of Completion" and the Wisconsin Board of Nursing has issued a legal interpretation stating that this is the same thing as a "Diploma of Graduation." With any of these types of wording you should be able to get a license in that state.

  4. At this point, don't bother arguing with low-level bureaucrats. You will likely need to go up the chain of command. I suggest going directly to the legal counsel for the Board of Nursing in your new state if your initial application was denied, although the exact job title for this person varies from state to state. (In Mississippi, for example, this person's job title is "Director of Discipline" because for the most part their job involves dealing with disciplinary actions.)

  5. Good Luck!

Anyone out there who is having a problem getting a nursing license in a new state after attending a Direct Entry program is welcome to email me for more information. I have spent the last eight months doing in-depth research on all aspects of RN licensure policies and procedures in general - and in Wisconsin, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Louisiana specifically. I may not be able to answer specific questions about licensure in other states, but I could probably point you in the right direction.

My email address is: lydiajoanne (at) yahoo (dot) com