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Graduate Nursing Department

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Work with leaders in the nursing field to further your career and redefine excellence in advanced nursing practice. Our expert faculty are with you every step of the way as you enter the dynamic field of nursing and health professions.

Graduate Nursing

The College of Nursing and Health Professions Graduate Nursing Department offers various graduate level nursing degree programs and graduate nursing certificate programs to help students advance their careers in nursing and health professions.

As a part of the Graduate Nursing Department, you will join a community of clinicians, researchers, faculty, and students in your journey toward advanced nursing practice. 

Students can choose from exciting career paths and take courses that span the gamut of nursing education. Whether you want to focus on clinical practice, research, nursing leadership, becoming an entrepreneur, or are interested in a wide variety of nursing education roles, the Drexel Graduate Nursing Department has a program pathway for you.

We invite you to explore the degree programs offered through this department that will help you begin your career in nursing. Please explore our web pages for a wealth of information about our programs, students, faculty, research and clinical practice.

Certificate Programs

Post Baccalaureate Certificates

Nurse Practitioner Post-Graduate Certificate Programs

Graduate Degree Pathways

Advanced Role MSN Tracks

Nurse Practitioner MSN Programs

Nurse Anesthesia Programs

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PhD in Nursing

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Fast Track Option

RN-MSN Bridge Program
Drexel University's Online RN-MSN "bridge" program is available for nurses who have a bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing and now wish to pursue an MSN degree.

Graduate Nursing Faculty

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News & Events



For the past two years, Al Rundio, PhD, Associate Dean for Post-Licensure Nursing Programs & CNE has been the President of the International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA). Rundio has served on the Board of Directors of IntNSA for the past eight years in roles such as Board Member, Secretary, President-Elect and President.

In an interview, reflecting on his Presidency, Rundio stated, “I had to be much more of a transactional leader in order to make some necessary changes to stabilize IntNSA, where I have always considered myself to be much more of a transformational leader. No good leader stands by themselves. I had a great executive committee in: Dana Murphy-Parker, President-Elect; William Lorman, PhD, Treasurer; and Dennis Hagarty, Secretary, as well as a supportive Board of Directors.”  The first item that had to be confronted was the financial situation of the organization. An expense reduction plan was immediately implemented. This past year a new management company was sought for IntNSA, which is a much more cost-effective company than the one that IntNSA had previously contracted with. On leaving IntNSA, Rundio has left the organization with the best financial picture in its history. Rundio recently stated “A firm foundation has now been created, which will serve as a spring board so that IntNSA can reach newer heights.”

Some accomplishments under his leadership include development of a new study guide for the certification examinations completed by the North Carolina Chapter of IntNSA, a revised core curriculum, soon to be published by Lippincott, expansion of international membership, the writing and receipt of a $75,000 PCSS-O grant, revision of the bylaws so that the Addictions Nursing Certification Board (ANCB) can now make final preparations to get the certification examinations accredited by ABCNS, and creation of the International Academy of Addictions Nursing.

When asked what he will be remembered for most, Rundio stated, “I wanted to leave a lasting legacy. I came up with the idea of creating an International Academy of Addictions Nursing so that nurses, who have and do contribute significantly to the field of Addictions Nursing, could be recognized as fellows of the academy.” Rundio’s idea was unanimously approved by the executive committee and the full board of directors at IntNSA. At the 38th Annual Educational Conference, the first five fellows were inducted into the academy. They can append the letters FIAAN (Fellow International Academy of Addictions Nursing) behind their name.  Besides creating the Academy, Rundio created the award for being a FIAAN, which includes a glass flame with the IntNSA logo, the words “Fellow of the International Academy of Addictions Nursing,” and the recipient’s name with their credentials and FIAAN all embedded and engraved within the flame, and a medallion for being a Fellow in the Academy.

When asked about leaving a leadership role at IntNSA, Rundio stated: “it’s time to turn the organization over to new leadership and new ideas. I know that Dana Murphy-Parker will do an incredible job as the new leader of IntNSA.” 

When asked about his future goals, Rundio stated: “I am being considered for a board position at a major health system in New Jersey. This has been a goal of mine for the past few years. So, it is perfect timing to embark on something new.”


Melanie Carminati, Health Sciences ’11, DPT ’14, was profiled in an article, “This Isn’t Your Grandmother’s Pilates” from the Huntington, New York newspaper, Record. Ms. Caminati is a physical therapist and Pilates instructor at East Northport Physical Therapy, a physical therapy, occupational therapy, athletic and training center in East Northport, New York.

Lynn C. Dunning Kaleita, MS, Nutrition Education, ’79 was recognized as the “2014 Adjunct Professor of the Year for Health Education” by Palm Beach State College.

Sherry Goodill PhD, ADTR, LPC HU ’80, MCAT, was featured in the article, “Drexel's New Clinic Explores the Role of the Arts in Health Care” on Dr. Goodill, the chair of the Drexel University Department of Creative Arts Therapy program, was quoted saying that part of a healthy society includes the arts, and part of an individual life well-lived includes the arts.

Shaun Logan, DPT ’10, was hired as a personal trainer at Philly Personal Training. Previously, Dr. Logan worked in South Jersey at privately owned sports and orthopedic physical therapy clinics.

Elaine Mustacchio, RN MSN, CRRN ‘09 received the “Nurse Manager Award” from the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN). Ms. Mustacchio is the nurse manager at Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and she has been an active ARN member for over 20 years.


Music has always been part of my life.  I started playing the viola when I was six.  My brother, the cello, my sister, the viola… and together we were “The Barry Trio.”  I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1990 with a BFA in Viola Performance, but I knew deep down inside that there was something else for me.

I was introduced to music by my parents, but I came to know its power through my daughter.  In 2000, my daughter Toireasa was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma Stage 4 at the age of 3.  Her one request as we were driving from the doctor’s office to the hospital was to stop by home and pick up the video of the musical CATS.  The music from that show gave her strength and hope.  I played it every day for her. We went through 10 VHS tapes during the two years she fought because we were playing it 24 hours 7 days a week.  And then in 2002, she lost her battle with cancer, and I found a new purpose for my life – nursing.

Music-is-My-SuperpowerI started nursing school in 2004 and graduated from the Drexel Accelerated Career Entry Program in September 2006.  My nickname during nursing school became “Super Nurse”.   And I read all the books about how nurses have “super powers” of perception and caring.  When I actually got my license, the nurses with whom I had worked as a Nurse Extern made me a cape out of an isolation gown and a white hat out of paper, with a name tag that said “Super Nurse.”  But I never knew or understood that I did have a super power until the spring of 2007 when I met “P.”

I had only been a nurse for 6 -7 months when I was assigned to him. Fresh off orientation, I was given a young man who had suffered a severe head trauma after an assault.  I was informed by the other nurses and doctors that he most likely would always be in a semi-vegetative state, and if he does ever come back, he will never be the same.  I looked around his room and saw photos of his family and an iPod on the table next to him.  Then his parents walked through the door.

I introduced myself to them as his nurse for the day, and we started talking.  I learned that he was here visiting from another city for his brother’s wedding, had gotten separated from the group, and was found at the bottom of a stairway outside a club. I learned he was a child of missionaries who had travelled the world helping others.  I learned that he was a musician – specifically a Jazz Upright Bass player who taught music to inner city kids in Harlem, among other things.

As his mother and father were telling me his story, I remembered the iPod sitting on the bed table.  I asked them about it, and they told me that it was full of all his favorite music.  I asked if I could look, and what I saw blew me away – John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck – all my favorites too.  I asked if we could keep this with him and keep it running 24/7, because I had an idea.

The idea wasn’t completely formed, but somehow I knew that music was the key, and at least it would make him, hopefully, more comfortable.

Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months.  “P”s recovery was very little.  He battled infections and difficulties that strained even the most seasoned nurses on our unit.  Back and forth he went from our floor to the ICU over that time, and his parents were told to consider looking for a long term care facility, as there was no change in his condition and no hope that anyone saw.

Then one day upon his return to our unit, I saw him using the buttons on the bed.  Up and down went the head of the bed and he stared at it... concentrating… understanding.  Purposeful movements! I couldn’t believe it.  I ran into the room and he looked up at me, smiled and then nothing, no recognition, just a blank stare and then laid down and went to sleep.  But I knew at that moment what I needed… no, what he needed, and I immediately called his mom. 

I remember that conversation like it was yesterday – “Does anyone of the family have an electric keyboard they can bring in? Because if you don’t… I’ll go get one!” The very next day, the keyboard was there and my work began.

For the next week I worked constantly with him, coming in on my days off, just to have him put his fingers on the keyboard – helped him remember how to place his hands on it – helped him remember the sound of a simple C Major scale.  And one day, as I put the keyboard on the table in front of him and placed his hands on the keyboard, he started playing the scale by himself.  Up and down the keys his fingers travelled. Slowly but surely and purposefully he played – each note, so precious.  I called his parents and told them the news.

The following week, I brought my viola in and played with him – dancing around the room while he played scales, arpeggios, and some simple jazz riffs.

I called the Occupational Therapist and told her that something amazing was happening, and she needed to see him, that a reevaluation was needed.  She came to the room in disbelief as I sat “P” up on the side of the bed and placed the keyboard in front of him.  He started playing random notes with no design or purpose.  She looked at me and said “this isn’t anything; you’re making a mountain out of a mole hill.”  So, I asked him to play me a scale.  He played it perfectly.  I asked him to play an arpeggio.  Again – perfect!  The look on the therapist’s face was priceless – she smiled! Then he did something amazing – he started playing an old Dave Brubeck tune and I started crying.

The therapist immediately called a meeting with his parents and the phones started ringing from Philadelphia to NYC.  Urgently we tried to find someplace – any place – that would take him for rehab instead of long term nursing care.

I was off for a couple days and couldn’t make it in for a visit.  The morning I returned to work, “P” was on a stretcher in the hallway and the medics were there. He had been accepted into a rehab facility in NYC and he was finally leaving our hospital. When he saw me arrive on the unit, he raised his hands wildly and the medics stopped.  In his hand was a note pad and a pen, and he wrote!  YES! In those two days I was off, he remembered how to write!  Two simple words that I will carry with me forever – THANK YOU.

Six months after he left us, “P” walked out of rehab on his own two feet.  One year later, he returned to Philly to run in the Philadelphia Marathon.  I was there when he crossed the finish line.  He didn’t remember me, but knew of me from what his parents had told him – that I was the nurse who brought him back to life through music.

I still keep in touch with him and his family.  We call each other, send messages through Facebook, and email on birthdays and holidays. He has recently completed his Masters in Classical Bass and is playing with a group that tours up and down the East Coast.

I have worked with several patients over the years bringing music into my nursing.  I’ve played for my coworkers on St. Patrick’s Day and Easter in the Emergency Department.  My nickname has changed from “Super Nurse” to “Hospital Mom.”  But deep down inside, I know I’ve finally found my super power… it’s my music.

Each and every nurse in this amazing profession brings something unique with us to the job.  Whether it is the ability to teach – art – music – writing – caring – we all bring something and that is our super power.  Nurses are the front line of the health profession. We see patients at their worst and rarely see them at their best.  What we have to remember is that what we do today affects them tomorrow and in the years to come, so we better make it count.

Music is my super power.  What’s yours?

by Julia Barry Elsisy, BFA, BSN, RN, BCEN ‘06

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