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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.






Graduate Nursing Faculty

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Kathryn (Katie) Farrell, MSN has two roles at Drexel University; she is a full-time assistant clinical professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions and track director of the Quality, Safety, Risk Management MSN program, and she is a student pursuing a Doctor of Education through Drexel’s School of Education.

With a BSN from Georgetown University, Farrell went to work clinically first in New York, then in Philadelphia when she decided to pursue a master's degree in health leadership with a teaching certificate from the University of Pennsylvania. “I like teaching nurses on the unit, but I found my passion in quality and safety,” shared Farrell. This allowed her to go beyond nursing education to improving nursing practice. After switching to a role more focused on quality and safety, Drexel, having just started the MSN program in quality, safety risk management, asked Farrell to teach as an adjunct professor. “I loved teaching nurses in the practice setting, but I really did like the more traditional classroom learning environment,” she said. When the track director and a full time assistant clinical professor position became available, she was thrilled for a full-time position teaching at Drexel.

We interviewed Farrell to find out more about the doctorate program and how it may influence her as a professor.

Why did you choose the nurse educator program, and Drexel’s in particular?

Katie Farrell, MSN, on the first day of the EdD program at Drexel University with her children.I always planned to get my doctorate degree—it is a priority here at Drexel—however, I wasn't sure if I wanted a doctorate in nursing practice, a PhD or an EdD. I want to excel as a professor eventually becoming a certified nurse educator. When I found out that there was the EdD with a nursing education track, it really aligned with my current and long-term goals. It is such a unique program. It is interdisciplinary; taught in the School of Education by their faculty while my core classes will be taught by nursing faculty. Something else I really like is the varied perspectives in education I’m seeing. In my cohort there are military leaders, high school and grade school teachers all with different experiences and philosophies.

As a faculty member, I have a unique understanding of our curriculum, expectations of students and faculty—the rigor of a Drexel education. As a student, I knew how great the program would be and how supportive the faculty are. The online format is perfect, because I have two children and a full-time job. Drexel has such great energy and such a good reputation. Why would I choose any other institution.

As a faculty member, what inspires you about Drexel students?

My students, who are all online, are so engaged. They take the time to get to know one another, they're involved in the classes and you can see their determination to succeed and to make sure everyone else does too. I've been so impressed with the caliber of our students—they are clinical experts in their professional lives, yet in the classroom, they are responsive, inquisitive and think outside the box. I think it speaks volumes of the program, as does seeing how many students continue to come back to Drexel after completing their undergraduate degree here. Because Drexel's reputation is so remarkable, students from all over the country choose to come here. That's really one of the reasons that I chose Drexel for my doctorate.

What is your favorite class to teach?

It's a tossup. I love teaching Quality and Safety in Health Care, a core class. When they come into it, some of the students think, because they are not in the quality, safety risk management track, it does not apply to them. I love watching their mind completely change to see its value for everyone, not just the risk management employee or the safety officer.

The other class I love teaching is in the track—Creating a Culture of Safety. This is our on-campus intensive course where they take everything they learned throughout the program and apply it to the simulation. Investigating adverse events, doing presentations to the board, looking at root cause analyses with real patients and real employees; it is a lot of high stress. The safe environment of a simulation lab allows students to practice before they do it in the real world.

The cohort really gels during this course. They already ‘get’ each other because they have been working together this whole time online but enjoy getting a little closer through these two long days. That’s something else I love about teaching this course.

Do you have a mission statement?

Katie Farrell, MSN, an assistant clinical professor and track director at the College of Nursing and Health Professions, receiving the Nurse Leader Award when she worked at Penn Medicine.My mission right now is to develop and grow our future nurses and nurse leaders. Nurses are retiring and I don't know if we have the same amount entering the field, so I think it is critical to make sure that we're nurturing and supporting those who do and those who continue their educations so they can give the best care to their patients. Everything I do in the classroom goes back to patients. When my students talk about projects they are doing, I'm thinking and asking, ‘okay well how's this going to impact care and the patient?’

I hope to inspire students about the importance of and the innovative approaches to improving quality and safety. I also want to impress upon them that everyone in the hospital has this responsibility—it is not just for those in a specific department.

What advice could you give to a person deciding on a healthcare path?

Do things that are uncomfortable. I think you find out where your passion lies when you try new things. This is a field that offers so many opportunities to be happy and fulfilled. If you like an area and want to stay there for your entire career, that’s great. But you can also move around a lot until you find where your heart is. Being a nurse is really the most rewarding, fulfilling job. You know every day you are making a difference; whether you're at the bedside or not, you're making a difference.

When I was working as a nurse, I loved being the charge nurse because I was helping to support everyone on the unit. I also loved precepting—that was a time where I was able to teach and mentor new nurses. That is when realized I wanted to do nursing education. Even though I am not the one holding a patient’s hand, I am still touching their lives and still engaged in clinical care. Nurses are very special people, they're not everyday people. They are passionate about something bigger than themselves and to me that is just so admirable.

Katie Farrell, MSN, an assistant clinical professor and track director at the College of Nursing and Health Professions, is in the EdD program at the SoE.


May 2021

Cement trucks ready to start pouring concrete floors of the new building.

Cement trucks ready to start pouring concrete floors of the new building.

March 2021

Six cement trucks lined up to pour the concrete floors.

Cement trucks ready to start pouring concrete floors of the new building.

Cement trucks ready to start pouring concrete floors of the new building.

Click images to magnify

January 2021

Photo of Drexel Academic Tower construction 

Photo of Drexel Academic Tower construction 

Photo of Drexel Academic Tower construction

December 2020

When the announcement about a new home for the College of Nursing and Health Professions was made in May 2019, no one could have imagined that construction would be delayed by a global pandemic. It was expected that groundbreaking would be in spring 2020 with a substantial completion delivery of mid-2022. Beginning in late July, it is still the hope to maintain the same timeline.

Google Earth screenshot of the location of the Drexel Academic Tower

With CNHP being the first occupants of the new facility, some of the College of Medicine’s administrative functions, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies and its first- and second-year medical program will join the College in phases. President Fry, in a message to the University in late 2019, said “at the new academic building, many of Drexel’s health-related programs will be under one roof, enhancing opportunities for interdisciplinary education in a facility that affords health sciences students, faculty and professional staff the best possible environment for continued development and growth.”



Trevon Friar, MSN, CRNP, PMHNP-BC, graduated in June 2020 from Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions.Trevon Friar, MSN '20, was on his way to being a physician. He was in a pre-med program with a plan mapped out until his grandmother needed help caring for his grandfather, who had fallen ill. In his heart, he knew he had to do it. Friar may have left school, but he did not leave his dream of being a health professional behind. He lovingly cared for his grandfather for three years while working as a certified nurse assistant. As he was about to restart his education in earnest, his mentor, a psychiatrist, explained advances in psychiatric care, putting an alternative path in motion.

Instead of returning to pre-med, Friar went to nursing school before coming to Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions for its nurse practitioner program. He chose psychiatry as his specialty because he understood the lack of experience and awareness of mental illness from a young age when his uncle was tragically shot during a psychotic break. "People are illiterate when it comes to mental illness, and often those with challenges are stigmatized. And because of what happened to my uncle, I wanted to understand schizophrenia and how the brain worked," Friar shared.

His curiosity and compassion grew while at Drexel. He admits that an online program gave him pause—he likes getting questions answered in real-time and having the professor in front of him—but quickly became enthusiastic. Friar shared that his professors never showed any irritation with the volume of questions he would ask. "Dr. Garcia knew how intrigued I was by psychiatry. She understood my desire to know the 'why' behind everything specifically from someone who's practicing," he remembers. Friar was frustrated after failing the first exam in his specialty, and when he emailed Garcia asking if they could set up a one-on-one, she responded within ten minutes. The two talked the next day about one particular scenario on the test, and it is one lesson that sticks with him to this day. "A patient presented with depression, so I started with the standard SSRI treatment. I neglected the patients the other symptoms that indicated bipolar disorder," he said. Friar remains very grateful to Garcia because, if this were real, "I could have harmed the patient because I wasn't listening. I've never told her that, but I will now."

That example, being included in treatment decision-making and receiving compliments about his understanding of mental illness, reaffirms his choice to attend Drexel. The psychiatrists Friar works with will frequently tell him that his knowledge is beyond what they'd expect from an NP, and other psychiatric nurse practitioners often ask him where he went to school because they weren't taught many of the things he knew. All this preparation helps him explain 'why' and process the things causing his patients to want to end their lives or hurt others. His personal mission is to be a highly responsive, kind psychiatric care provider, so his patients know they have someone who genuinely cares about them in their corner. "I want to know I helped someone feel better about themselves today and that I gave them hope and the motivation to continue forward so they can be their best—for their family, their friends, their children," Friar stated.

He also is determined to educate others, health professionals in particular, and to destigmatize mental illness. It is this lack of awareness that perpetuates ignorance, like in the situation with his uncle. When hospital colleagues say he deals with "crazy people," Friar is quick to correct them. "I point out that the illness my people have is of the brain just like pulmonology is lungs and cardiology, the heart. Then I ask them not to speak about my patients like that again," he asserted.

These are just a couple of instances demonstrating the uniqueness of CNHP's Master of Science in Nursing and its psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner specialty. Friar readily shares advice with anyone contemplating a similar path. He will say to pursue what they love in nursing—nurse leadership, women's health, pediatrics, gerontology, etc.—because doing what they love will make them extraordinary clinicians in their specialty. "Of course, I'm biased. Psychiatry is the best specialty with too few practitioners, and Drexel has the most exceptional program. It made me the clinician I am today and a champion of psychiatric care for my patients," he concluded.

Trevon Friar, MSN, CRNP, PMHNP-BC, graduated in June 2020 and works at HCA Physician Services Group, Psychiatry in Tampa, Florida, providing in- and outpatient psychiatric–mental health services.U.S. News & World Report ranks the College of Nursing and Health Professions #3 in Nurse Practitioner – Psychiatric Mental Health.


Written by Roberta S. Perry
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