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Undergraduate Nursing Department

Programs Tailored Towards Your Goals

Our unique programs are geared towards helping you succeed and start your career in nursing practice. Choose to complete a BSN with a co-op offering real world employment experience or opt for an accelerated program.

Undergraduate Nursing

The College of Nursing and Health Professions Undergraduate Nursing Department offers three exciting programs that will help you launch your career in the health care field.

Our BSN Co-op Program is a unique way to earn your degree while participating in Drexel’s cooperative education model – dividing your time between class and real-world work experience. We also offer an Accelerated Career Entry Program and an RN/BSN Completion Program.

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

Undergraduate Programs

Cooperative Bachelor of Science in Nursing
A general nursing program to prepare you for licensure as a registered nurse.

Accelerated Career Entry (ACE) for Bachelor's of Science in Nursing
Already earned a bachelor's degree in another field? Change careers and become a registered nurse.

RN/BSN Completion Program
Advance your nursing education and earn a bachelor's degree in nursing.

MSN Early Assurance Program

Academically excellent students in Drexel University's BSN Co-op or Accelerated Career Entry (ACE) programs may be eligible for the MSN Early Assurance Program, an accelerated pathway to select MSN programs.

This program permits students entering the final year of Drexel's BSNCo-op Program, or entering the fourth quarter of the ACE Program, to apply for admission to select MSN Programs and have their places reserved in our highly competitive advanced practice and advanced nursing tracks. Accepted students can take core MSN courses immediately after graduation and licensure. After completing the necessary hours or years of experience as registered nurses, they can enter the clinical or practicum sequence in the MSN specialty track.

Nursing BSN co-op students may apply for early assurance at the start of the senior year. Nursing Accelerated Career Entry (ACE) students should apply for early assurance at the beginning of their fourth quarter.

Early Assurance is available for all Nurse Practitioner tracks with the exception of Adult-Gerontology Acute Care, Pediatric Acute Care, and Pediatric Primary and Pediatric Acute Dual Programs.

Undergraduate Nursing Faculty

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News & Events



Since 2004, BAYADA Home Health Care and Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) have teamed up to celebrate and award technological innovation in health care education and practice. “It’s an honor to have a long-term partnership with Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions,” said BAYADA Home Health Care Founder and President Mark Baiada. Since the inception of the BAYADA Award, $230,000 has been granted to 28 individuals or groups for projects that have made a difference in the educational outcomes of students and improved care for patients, something about which both the College and BAYADA are passionate. “We’re proud to empower these nurses whose innovative ideas can help shape the future of the health care landscape,” he added.

Previous winners include two individuals from Duke University School of Nursing for their innovative approach to build competencies among acute care nurse practitioner students mirroring real life encounters and promoting interdisciplinary teamwork through patient simulation, an associate professor of Clinical Medicine and Anesthesiology at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine for leading the way to the next generation of invasive bedside procedural instruction, a team from Duquesne University School of Nursing, Schar College of Nursing and Sciences at Ashland University and the University of Akron for establishing a virtual clinical experience to build cultural competence, a professor and Doctor of Nursing Practice coordinator at Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University for developing an innovative, computerized risk assessment tool to determine the risk of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary emboli in patients upon admission and during hospitalization and a nursing educator at the Eastern Center for Arts and Technology for introducing the use of intelligent pens as a technological tool to assist nursing faculty and their students. 

This year’s winners are both nurses early in their careers; very fitting as we recently celebrated National Nurses Week. “The 2017 winners are young and it excites me because they are at the beginning of their careers,” explained Fran Cornelius, PhD, chair of Drexel’s BAYADA Award selection committee. “We are going to see remarkable things from the two individuals. They are changing healthcare,” she continued.

Britney Scolieri, DNP, PMHNP-BC is an assistant professor in the Health and Community Systems (HCS) Department at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. Befitting of her research focus, mental health care, nursing education and simulation, Scolieri received the BAYADA Award for Technological Innovation in Health Care Education for developing and launching an innovative educational app, PsychOut, to teach nursing students how to do a mental status assessment. “Following the recommendation of my mentor, Dr. Irene Kane, I did my own research on the BAYADA award,” she said. “The more I learned about the history of the award, past recipients, and all of the phenomenal projects that it has supported, the more I felt that the PyschOut project would be a perfect fit.” Scolieri’s app presents realistic, interactive clinical encounters that provide students an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in a safe, controlled learning environment, strengthening students’ ability to conduct an effective psychiatric assessment. “Our goal with the PsychOut project was to not only to create a tool to improve education amongst the nursing population but to also promote and inspire other organizations to think outside the box when teaching complex subjects such as psychiatric nursing/medicine,” Scolieri explained. Using a variety of case-based, multimedia simulation scenarios that unfold realistically, students apply their knowledge and are able to immediately see the outcome of their approaches. Health professionals may encounter individuals with mental health issues in all practice settings underscoring the importance of providing opportunities to develop these essential skills. “The way students and professionals learn varies greatly from individual to individual, and we felt it was extremely important to provide the most realistic psych-based scenarios into a platform from which today's students feel most comfortable learning—technology,” she added. Scolieri is excited about the avenues the prestige and history of the BAYADA award will open for her to get the word out about her project and how it will affect student learning and patient outcomes. 

Mentor, Drexel alumna and Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s CNO Joanne McGovern encouraged Dana McNeil, BSN, RN, HN-BC to submit an application for the award for a project that had been very successful in helping the nurses, and other members of the health care team, prevent/treat abnormal parameters quicker. McNeil is the recipient of the 2017 BAYADA Award for Innovation in Health Care Practice and the other $10,000 prize. She designed and implemented an electronic board for early identification and rapid response to quickly assess patient status changes. The idea of the electronic board was first brought up by another one of her mentors and previous managers. “There were some fall outs on timely interventions, so a few of us came together to make the visual tool a reality, to not only help the nurses have quick access to the most pertinent data in the patient's chart but also to benefit the patients”, explained McNeil. Her board, displaying real-time patient acuity data in her in-patient oncology unit, has made a significant impact on the ability to rapidly identify and respond to patient deterioration, reduce risk for falls and injury as well as improve interdepartmental communication. The parameters displayed on the board include vital signs, Hendrich score and the Braden Scale and produces different color-coded alarms for each of the abnormal parameters, to quickly communicate urgency for assessment and intervention. The success of the innovation, since implementation in July 2015, led to timelier clinician interventions for 24 percent of patients and decreased falls by an impressive 60 percent. 

Applications are now being accepted for the 2018 awards and are due by March 1, 2018. “Every year we continue to be impressed by the quality of the applications received and we hope that next year’s applicants will continue that trend,” Cornelius articulated. The BAYADA Award is remarkable because its core intent is to shine the spotlight on healthcare professionals who are doing extraordinary and innovative things to improve health professions education and practice and yet are often unrecognized. “We are hoping to raise public awareness of this award because often the individuals, so deserving of this recognition, don’t realize the significance of their contribution and may need a nudge to submit an application. I urge anyone, who knows someone deserving of this recognition to encourage them to submit an application,” she added. Teams and individuals are encouraged to submit their projects for consideration and to share the information about the awards with their colleagues whose innovations are impacting the education of students and the lives of patients. Read about past winners and criterion for submission.

by Roberta S. Perry


There are over 23 million results when Googling “top 10 qualities of a nurse,” but empathy, skilled in communication, organization and adaptability and being emotionally stable, physically fit and knowledgeable are often listed. Senior co-op nursing student Kate Wilchek possesses all those traits and then some. Wilchek is a leader, she is incredibly self-awareness, she is funny and she is filled with compassion.

When considering college, Wilchek knew exactly what she was looking for. Her mother and sibling had been through the college search process already and figured out what questions to ask. “I wasn’t the first pancake,” she joked. “I have a brother; he was the first pancake, so my mom learned what to ask about the things we were looking for in a school,” Wilchek added. How equipped the labs are, with which hospitals the college is affiliated and the NCLEX pass rate were all very important in her decision. The College of Nursing and Health Professions’ simulation and standardized patient labs impressed her as did the co-op program of which she has taken advantage three times. “The co-op program is awesome. It’s job security,” she exclaimed. Those things constituted Wilchek’s academic requirements. Her social prerequisites emerged because she was from a small town in Connecticut. She was used to driving 20 to 30 minutes to get anywhere fun and wanted to be in the middle of a city where her seeming desperation for busyness could be mollified. Drexel filled both of her academic and social conditions. Her decision in choosing Drexel was also nudged along because she had been recruited for rowing (something that was short lived because she quickly learned that nursing school was really hard). “I want to be a nurse, not a professional rower,” she stated. She’s neither looked back nor once regretted that choice especially since she needed to learn study and other skills to help her be successful in the nursing program. “I didn’t know what worked for me because I hadn’t taken the time to learn how I needed to learn and I paid for it. I’ve spent the last five years recovering from not knowing this,” Wilchek confessed.

Wilchek has had many people and experiences help her figure out some really important aspects of her personality and her passion, not the least of whom were her professors and her Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program mentor. She knows that her instructors and professors have their students’ best interests at heart and really want to see them succeed, but Wilchek didn’t think that in the beginning. In fact, she was sure they were out to get her. “They would ask questions like ‘here are three oranges that are all orange, but which one is the most orange?’ and young me thought they didn’t want me to pass — they don’t want me to be a nurse,” she said. As it turns out, that is the furthest thing from the truth. Wilchek learned that the reason for questions like that was because it’s how the questions on the NCLEX are asked. “So I wasn’t on their radar as someone they hated. They really care about the subjects they teach and their students doing well.” She had to do the heavy lifting, but she had an incredible support system. So Wilchek became that student. She was the one sitting in the front row of her classes absorbing everything her professors told them. Mary Yost, PhD taught Wilchek in her critical care rotation and worked very hard making everything relatable and understandable. She said that Yost was clear in pointing out specifically what students needed to know and reminded them often that they are caring for sick people. The question for her was what kind of sick people she wanted to care for.

“If you had asked me seven years ago when I first said I wanted to be a nurse, I would have told you, ride or die, I will be a pediatric oncology nurse,” she marveled. Then she came to school and found out something really impactful: she doesn’t like working with kids. She discovered that about herself very quickly. On the very first day of her pediatric rotation at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Wilchek’s instructor asked students what their biggest fears and concerns were. She wanted to be honest with herself and her instructor, so she responded how she really felt. “I don’t like children. They scare the crap out of me when they’re sick,” she announced. “They scream and cry. I know they’re just scared because they don’t know what’s going on and they’re not at home. I get it, but yikes,” conceded Wilchek. “Kids can sense fear and they sensed it all over me!” 

Once Wilchek burst the pediatric oncology bubble, she identified, through her course and clinical work, two things she loved — older adults and critical care. She is very at ease talking to elderly patients. “I like interacting with them and asking about their grandchildren,” she confided. “My grandparents like to talk about me, so I figure other older people like to too. It’s an easy topic of conversation from which you can build a relationship. I really enjoy that.” She also concluded she wanted to go into critical care because it’s unpredictable and forces you to remember and use your brain. With critical care, patients are so sick — nurses have to be on their “A” game when they walk through the door to treat him or her to quickly assess the situation. “It’s why I love the emergency department so much. You see so many types of people and a wide range of symptoms coming in.” Once she did her last co-op in the emergency department at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, she was hooked, however she needed a strong advocate and mentor to help her really go for it. Wilchek knew that getting into an emergency departments was a long and expensive process and started considering options like going to a medical-surgical floor or the ICU for 18 months before applying. Laurie Colborn, Wilchek’s Macy mentor would hear none of it. One of the things Colburn stressed was not settling for something other than what you really love and Colborn, knowing how Wilchek felt about critical care, thought a year and a half was an unacceptable amount of time to spend on a floor she really didn’t want to be on.

The Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program is a voluntary for-credit certificate program aimed at helping students develop leadership and life skills and it’s a program Wilchek thought she really needed to part of. In addition to the mentoring aspect, fellows take part in interprofessional learning, setting professional and personal goals and building networks meant to serve them for a lifetime. Colborn, RN, MSN, PhD (c) is a community health nurse working in preventive health at Independence Blue Cross. In addition to having nursing in common, both women are runners and planned on participating in the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia. Wilchek surprisingly placed third in April’s Johnson & Johnson Care Run, a 5K race at the 65th annual National Student Nurses’ Association conference in Dallas and was looking forward to the Broad Street Run. The two women saw each other at packet pick-up area before the race, then again at the finish line where Colborn seemed much more hyped than Wilchek felt. “I couldn’t understand it. We both just ran the same ten miles, but then I saw her time. She beat me by 50 seconds,” Wilchek announced.

From a mentoring perspective, Colborn seemed to approach it much like training. She helped Wilchek develop a timeline for completing her resume, applying for jobs and reaching out to faculty members who work in critical care to discuss her interest in the area. She encouraged her to really go for what she wanted. The Program helped Wilchek learn conflict resolution techniques and therapeutic communication skills boosting her self-confidence. “The Program has supported me in finding my voice,” she acknowledged. “It’s showed me how to go into the workforce and not be so mousy. I can stand up for myself and my patients.” If you met Wilchek, you would think she is anything but mousy. She is assertive but in a way that makes one feel safe and listened to. She related a story of a friend who called her about a medical concern and needed guidance. Wilchek advised and assured him she would be there for him which seems to be her modus operandi — compassionate encouragement mixed with knowledge and experience. Patients, as human beings, can get lost in the well-oiled machine that’s a hospital. Medical staff may view them as just a set of symptoms and not see fear, sadness and resignation. Wilchek won’t. She loves bedside and claims that one doesn’t have to be so in and out all the time. “Stories of patients recounting great experiences with nurses make my heart happy.”

As far as what the future may hold for this dynamic young woman, she’s indicated wanting to become a clinical instructor so she can offer future nurses the same kind of education she got. Her five-year plan includes being a charge nurse and active in a trauma bay. For now, she’ll be attending to the needs of her patients in the emergency department with all the compassion and skill she already exudes.

By Roberta S. Perry


The story Anthony and Rita Adeniran shared is filled with laughter, respect, love, hard work and compassion and one that, while not yet finished being written, gives testament to what people can accomplish when they have vision. Alumna and part time faculty Rita K. Adeniran, DrNP, MSN, RN, NEA_BC,  FAAN  and her alumnus husband, Anthony A. Adeniran, DNP, MSN, RN, PCA came to the United States from Nigeria a long time ago as an engaged couple with dreams of continued education; he to study aeronautical engineering and she to study medicine. Where their passions have led has brought them both much success as nurses, entrepreneurs, parents and role models.

When Rita was a little girl in a remote African village, she marveled at the nurses walking to and from work. She thought they were brilliant and beautiful and loved the hats the women wore. She wanted to be just like them and declared nursing as her path of education even though she didn’t know what nurses really did.  After starting nursing school program in Nigeria, she quickly realized that nursing is grossly undervalued, viewed as an appendage to physician's work; and reserved mainly for women or less intelligent men. Adeniran wanted to be respected and wasn’t about to kowtow to medical students whom she knew were not as smart as she. “I didn’t like being a nurse if my contributions will not count or be valued,” she recalled. “When doctors walk in the wards, nurses have to stand up, hand them their stethoscopes and gloves.” Adeniran could not comprehend the rationale for nurses to serve doctors. because she was always at the top of her classes prior to nursing school which got her nickname “Ever First” and knew there were plenty of medical students with much lower rankings in her class before medical school. So when the nurse matron wanted me to get up when the doctor walked in, I said, ‘No, I’m not getting up. I’m smarter than he is. I’m giving him no glove.’” She was a rebel in African context.

It is unfortunate, perhaps, fortunate that she could not change her nursing major, in their culture, once you’ve declared a major, you cannot change it, almost impossible due to the financial implications. She liked what she was doing, but didn’t want to be undervalued or  be a doctor’s handmaiden.  Already in love with Anthony, who wanted to go to the United States to continue his education in engineering, shecouldn’t wait to go so she could go to medical school. However, she was delighted to find out that here, nursing is a much respected calling and wouldn’t have to study to be a medical doctor. “As a nurse, I’m allowed to think. I am not subservient to physicians but rather collaborate with them.” Rita proclaimed that she would rather be a nurse and is quite proud of that fact. So much so, she convinced Anthony to change his career path to nursing as well.

If it hadn’t been for engineering though, Anthony would have never met Rita. He received his higher education degree and had only to finish his practicum which involved a two-day sail from the city of Lagos in West Africa to Rita’s village, Burutu. Their courtship lasted a while and included Anthony writing her letters using a female name as Rita’s father wouldn’t allow her to receive letters from a boy. Her father and their polygamist, patriarchal culture were very strict. “In the sender area, I used a female name, Kemi” Anthony recounted. “It was like Kathy in Africa, when I got a letter, my father would read it before giving it to me,” explained Rita. But it didn’t stop them from finally getting married. They had a traditional engagement in Africa and a white wedding here in the United States. They embraced their life in America which proved to be counter to what it would have been like had they stayed in Lagos. Anthony was labeled a “woman wrapper” by relatives and friends. They thought Rita did some sort of “voodoo” to get him to braid their kids’ hair, dress them, feed them and do many other things that were considered woman’s work. In a speech he gave on Rita’s 41st birthday where many of their relatives  and friends attended — the same people who saw him as worshipping his wife — he said, “Some of you here called me a woman wrapper. I will tell you that any smart man would be proud to be Rita’s wrapper.” They share very deep and mutual respect for each other and trust in the other’s opinion and advice.

When Anthony decided to pursue a master’s degree in nursing at Drexel Online and Rita questioned the quality of the education he would get not being in a classroom, they trusted each other in that decision and became very active members of the Drexel family. Anthony, who later received a DNP degree from Drexel, has proven to be an incredibly compassionate and well-liked nurse. “What got me in to nursing was when my second daughter was born prematurely,” he shared. “The kind of care they gave her gave me the impression that I wanted to do that too.” He has never regretted their decision or introducing his wife to Drexel. Anthony was cross-trained to care for pediatric and geriatric patients and claims to love both. Rita conveyed that he has patients Rita Adeniran at Independence Blue Cross awardswho won’t follow their doctors’ instructions unless Nurse Anthony is on board. “His patients love him because he is very, very caring,” Rita gushes. “He used to have a 107 year old patient who would go to the hospital and get advice about her treatment. She would tell the doctor to call Nurse Anthony and if he said yes, then she would do it,” she added. He’s very attentive and respectful of the elderly, something that is ingrained from their African culture and tradition. He has infused that commitment to the aging and to diversity in his company, Health1st Home Health Services. Caring for, and honoring the elderly is something that they would like to see done more in the U.S. They offer their skilled nursing, medical social services and physical and occupational therapies in Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery and part of Chester counties and are considering adding non-skilled services. “We are strategically looking at all the changes going on with healthcare and are suited to do it though we have chosen in the past not to,” Anthony acknowledged. “The reimbursement is not great and we don’t like to give sub-standard care. Our therapists are doctoral prepared and most of our nurses have masters’ degrees. We’re not that big, but it’s quality care, CMS rates Health1st as a Five-Stars Agency, the highest standard in the industry,” Rita commented. They cited that most of their referrals come from their patients’ families because they see that they go above and beyond which isn’t surprising when you hear what they think makes a good nurse. The willingness to suffer for another person is how Rita defines compassion. And that, in her opinion, is the main element of what makes a good nurse. “When I teach, I say that nursing is the only educated professionals that comes that close to poop, so if you aren’t willing to go that low  and dignify another human being, don’t be a nurse,” she stated. “They are heroes in how they interact with patients and how they carry their patients’ burdens with them,” Rita continued. “They are the voice of the voiceless.”

Being an advocate for patients, giving them voice, entails possessing humility and understanding and embracing cultural, educational, ethnic, gender and socioeconomic differences, indeed, diversity in its broadest sense. According to both Anthony and Rita, two people who profoundly champion diversity, in “nowhere else is it as important as healthcare because where you have two people, diversity exists.” Nurses cannot show up at the hospital for their shift and choose which patients they want to treat, so, in order to perform at an optimal level, they have to be able to manage all variables. Even nurses with the best intentions may inadvertently foil optimal outcomes by dismissing unfamiliar thought processes, cultural values and belief systems and treatment concepts. “Your expertise  for  a cure, may not worth or be as important as the patients’ culture. When you understand that, you are in a place of humility,” described Rita. “When you’re in a place of humility, you allow your patient to be the teacher of his or her culture.” They offered a perfect example of this from their own lives.

In Africa, “real women” go through labor without medication, pain or otherwise. Imagine the reactions when Rita and Anthony arrive at the hospital, here in Darby, Pennsylvania, for the birth of their first child and Anthony strongly declined any pain medication for his wife. “Once she was in labor, the nurses were trying to convince her to take it to relieve the labor process,” Anthony disclosed. “I didn’t want her to take it. They were thinking I was an abuser,” he added. “When I was close to my due date he asked me if I was going to be a real woman and not take the pain medicine. I said yes, I want to be a real woman,” Rita remembered. But this was her first baby therefore had no idea what labor pain was. “I was pregnant and carried this baby and I’m still not a real woman?” she asked. “As the labor progressed, they gave me oxytocin and I saw Jesus and Allah and forgot all about being a real woman.” She ended up asking for something for the pain which Anthony pleaded for her not to take it. “The nurse was ready to throw him out of the window. They thought he was abusing me and had planned on sending a social worker to our home when we were discharged.” The nurse, no doubt, was caring for her patient, but there was an obvious disconnect between a cultural tradition and belief held by the Adenirans and what was the norm in American labor and delivery practices. Anthony explained that he should have been asked why he was adamant about pain medication. Rita points out that nurses are not to blame, but she also stresses that there is a great need for cultural competency and flexible thinking. “Part of your skill is to get to the bottom of the rationale for my husband’s actions,” Rita remarked. It should be part of a proactive assessment and she says there is a very specific way to ask about these delicate items: “We would like to honor everything about you and your culture and to give you the best delivery and support. Is there anything we should know during your labor process to honor you?” “You’re going to honor me? When you put it that way, I’m more likely to give you more information than if you just asked me “Do you have any cultural concerns?”” she said. This then let’s the patient know that the nurse is truly interested in learning and being attentive to their unique needs.

Rita’s work in diversity has garnered her much acclaim. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and completed a three-year fellowship through the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows’ Program where she and six other nurse leaders from across the country designed a “Civility Tool Kit” to help identify, intervene and prevent workplace bullying. She’s been invited to speak in more than 18 countries delivering commencement and keynote addresses on adversity and diversity, she served as  the director of Diversity and Inclusion at The University of Pennsylvania Health System and co-chairs the Nursing Diversity Council of the State of Pennsylvania Action Coalition. In May, she was inducted into the Drexel 100 and received the 2017 Healthcare Advocate Award from the Pennsylvania Diversity Council and in June she will receive the “Every Day Nursing Hero Award” from the Pittsburgh Black Nurses in Action.

Their business is growing, their five children are getting more settled in their education and careers (three of them are pursuing a career in healthcare) and there are still plenty of things they want to do. It doesn’t look like Rita and Anthony will be slowing down anytime soon to do the traveling they hope to do in retirement. As Rita put it, “In the race for excellence, there is no finish line.”

By Roberta S. Perry

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