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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.

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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.

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News & Events



By Frank Otto, University Communications

Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia was the largest event ever undertaken by the United States Secret Service and a rousing success, according to Mayor Michael Nutter.

Volunteering for the American Red Cross, one Drexel student played a particular role in that success.

“I have to say that the Secret Service, the cops, the EMS and the Red Cross disaster management teams were phenomenal,” said Renee Bollenbach, a 45-year-old online Master’s of Science in Nursing student. “They all worked together and really worked to ensure safety.”

Bollenbach worked primarily out of First Aid Tent Three from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., which was located at 23rd and Market Streets. They received crowds of “pilgrims” intending to head toward 30th Street Station. She arrived on-site Friday morning and didn’t leave until she was debriefed early Monday morning.

She lived on-site in one of the tents set up by the Red Cross, taking showers in temporary facilities. Wawa provided her food.

“I don’t think I can look at another Wawa,” she laughed.

On Friday, Bollenbach was able to attend the Mass Pope Francis held at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. She also visited the Knotted Grotto nearby, a prayer sanctuary that was set up so visitors could write prayer intentions on ribbons and tie them to the structure.

“I put in a ribbon for Drexel,” Bollenbach said.

Although Bollenbach was able to do some of the things that visitors for the Papal Visit were able to do, her participation obviously went far deeper.

Her job at First Aid Tent Three was to triage people coming in for attention. They handled anything from sore ankles and exhaustion to a cardiac arrest and Achilles tendon tear.

At one point, EMS units got so backed up that Bollenbach was re-assigned to help transport patients who couldn’t walk anymore using a Gator utility vehicle.

“There was a 7-year-old coming off of [cancer] remission who collapsed,” Bollenbach. “Her mother refused any further medical service, so we were able to get her home on the Gator (an Emergency Medical Services vehicle).”

The job ranged from crushes of people at peak times earlier in the night to slow times early in the morning.

Bollenbach felt her training at Drexel prepared her for the experience, especially a session taught by Fran Cornelius, PhD, coordinator of informatics projects, clinical professor and department chair for the Division of Graduate Nursing Advanced Role MSN Department, in technology during a three-day practicum requirement. The volunteers actually were able to use apps like Uber to help arrange for patients to get home.

“We coordinated using a lot of technologies, like I learned about in Dr. Cornelius’ class,” Bollenbach explained.

Overall, Bollenbach said she felt “a lot of support” when she let her Drexel contacts know she was being deployed by the Red Cross.

“I was afraid, but they supported me,” she said.

Although everything went well and there was great teamwork between all involved, Bollenbach recognized the safety issues that could have presented themselves throughout the weekend.

“What I’m coming away from this with is it was a positive experience and we learned a lot about communication in the field and, of course, safety,” Bollenbach reflected.

With nine weeks left until she finishes her master’s degree, Bollenbach sees her experience during the papal visit as a launchpad for continuing her education even further.

“It was a great way to jump into my doctoral program, hopefully here at Drexel,” Bollenbach said.

This article first appeared in DrexelNow.


Pre-term birth is major public health issue, globally and locally. It drives our embarrassingly high rates of infant mortality in the United States and in Philadelphia. The mother’s health is directly related to the health of her baby. Healthy mothers are less likely to have a pre-term birth, a baby born before 37 or more weeks of pregnancy. Worldwide, the most prevalent causes are hypertension and infection. These are also the most prevalent causes of maternal mortality (mothers who die during the year after childbirth). 

“If the baby is born too early, they have a higher likelihood of neonatal brain injury, which is linked in some instances to cerebral palsy,” said Joan Bloch, PhD, associate professor. Bloch has made improving maternal care locally and globally her mission. “My mantra is collaboration across all borders to improve global and local maternal health,” she said. The issues that are partially responsible for driving up the rates of maternal and infant mortality, like high blood pressure and greater susceptibility to infection, are more common in marginalized populations living lives of poverty who are burdened with excessive stressors.

Bloch spent one week this summer on a medical mission in Haiti with LabakCare, a community-based organization that serves underserved communities locally and globally. With her Drexel faculty colleague, Omolabake Fadeyibi, MSN, who organized the interdisciplinary medical mission to Haiti, they saw over 400 patients in mobile clinics they ran in church-affiliated communities. The LabakCare team of two pharmacists, three nurses and a medical student partnered with Haitian doctors and nurses.

The decision to go to Haiti was based on the nation’s poverty, which is a difficult cycle to break due to the lack of available education, and its overall health. “The health of a nation is usually measured by several different health indicators – maternal and infant mortality are global health indicators that can portray the health of a nation. Every country around the world tracks their rate of infant death in the first year of life and the rate of maternal deaths after giving birth,” said Bloch. “Haiti has the worst health of all the countries in the Americas. And the infant mortality rate in Haiti, as you would expect, is really high. I’ve always been intrigued by Haiti – by what makes the health outcomes so poor.”

Bloch and the team provided medical screenings for high blood pressure, diabetes and other health problems that could ultimately impact maternal and infant outcomes. The reception was warm. “I was stunned with how grateful the people of Haiti were once they heard we were coming to provide a medical mission. Hundreds of people came to the churches for care.”

Bloch also paid a visit to the nursing school in Petit Goave. It was lacking in resources with no computers or a library available to students. When Bloch asked how she could help she learned that they needed faculty to teach their faculty health assessment skills. 

“We know that among people with African heritage, hypertension is highly prevalent. So we expected and saw that there was high, high prevalence of hypertension in people over 45. We could help train the trainers – the nurses – in caring for their hypertension population,” said Bloch. 


By C. Gabrielle Salfati, PhD, professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, and the director of the Investigative Psychology Research Unit. 
Assessing risk of re-offending, we all know, is a big responsibility. Especially in crimes such as serial sex offending. The consequences of an assessment that does not flag up a risk carries with it an impact that is not only one that can destroy the life of a potential new victim, but which can also affect the agency or practitioner team involved in the assessment. The use of empirically validated tools is, therefore, integral to enable more valid and reliable predictions about the risk of future offending. 
Clinical risk assessment is a process that aims to determine, based on specific psychological measurements, the likelihood that an offender is going to commit a crime. The field of risk assessment has focused on which offender characteristics are predictive of reoffending, and several tests are employed now in this process. An additive process is used to determine which of these factors increase the risk level of reoffending. As a result of this process, offenders that have more risk-related characteristics are placed into a higher risk level category than those who have fewer of these characteristics. Recent research has however shown that the current process involved in risk assessment has had difficulties in reliably assigning offenders to risk levels that can adequately predict their likelihood of re-offending, and that there is variability in offenders who receive similar “scores” in terms of whether they go on to re-offend or not. One avenue we may want to explore could be on a more detailed understanding of an offender’s behaviors at the crime scene and how we can use this information to help refine and increase the reliability of risk predictions.  
Offender Profiling is another field has been developing alongside the field of risk assessment. This process can be seen as the flipside of the risk assessment coin, in that instead of predicting unknown future behavior from characteristics, it aims to characteristics of an unknown offender from the known actions they engaged in at the crime. As part of the process, offender profiling aims to examine the actions at the crime scene and categorize them into different behavioral sub-types, which are predictive of separate and distinct sets of offender char¬acteristics. In serial crimes, the examination of whether offenders are consistent in their behavior over their series, or whether they change, escalate or whether they engage in predictable trajectories over time has been added to the process of categorizing offences into different sub-types. The overall aim is to use this information to help narrow down and prioritize the most likely characteristics of potential suspects. 
Joining Forces. These two fields have to date been separate. Yet both bring important pieces to the same equation. Adding behaviors found useful in distinguishing sub-types of offending, to the risk assessment process, will provide a substantial expansion of the understanding of the relationship between psychological measurements of risk and behavior at the time of the crime, and ultimately may help construct better predictions of re-offending and recidivism. At the same time, adding a detailed psychological assessment of an offender to the profiling equation will allow for a much richer understanding of offender characteristics that may be related to certain crime scene patterns
Salfati will be showcasing the latest ground-breaking discoveries about offending behavior from the field of offender profiling and how this can potentially be applied to the field of sex offender risk assessment in her plenary talk at the "Forensic Trends in Healthcare" conference being held on April 15-17 2016.

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