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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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News & Events



Stack of graduation programs for Drexel UniversityThe weeks leading up to the Drexel’s 134th Commencement were full of celebrations. Undergraduate, graduate and doctoral candidates from across the College of Nursing and Health Professions attended a host of CNHP and Drexel University events to recognize their accomplishments. Our nursing co-op students held their pinning ceremony, the Nutrition Sciences Department, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Graduate Nursing hosted celebrations, the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows met virtually to recognize those who completed the year-long program and the Creative Arts Therapies held their day-long Colloquia where student presented of their work.

Graduates wearing Drexel University caps and gowns at the College of Nursing and Health Professions graduation ceremonyOn the morning of June 9 at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts and with a focus on equity and purpose, Dean Laura Gitlin, PhD, welcomed graduating students, faculty, families, friends and guests to the first in-person graduation since 2019 saying, “We have all chosen lives that are, and will continue to be, motivated by an innate desire to make life better–to heal, a responsibility to serve and an obligation to advocate for those whose voices are not always heard or who do not receive equitable access to care throughout their life course.”

Gitlin asked for graduates to see their callings as a continuation or the College’s core values. “You have the obligation, opportunity and privilege to change the lives of individuals as well as systems of care—to develop new strategies, practices and policies in your respective fields and to address health inequities,” she asserted. She encouraged them to strive to provide person-centric care and to address what matters most to those for whom they care.

Zainab During, a master’s nursing student in Quality, Safety and Risk Management and a member of the Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, gave the student address. Born and raised in Sierra Leone, During used her own experience of civil war in her country to demonstrate what ambition and purpose will help one accomplish. “It is with that same mindset that I was able to thrive when I immigrated to the United States 13 years ago, with the goal of one day living the American dream,” she shared. “While this goal was abstract, it gave me hope and allowed me to continue nurturing my purpose,” During continued.

A group wearing Drexel University caps and gownsShe closed by stating what an honor it is to be graduating with the class of 2022 who she knows will do great things. “My fellow graduates, as a result of the knowledge, skills, and aptitudes acquired during the courses of our different programs, it is a privilege to follow our purpose and be given the opportunity to shine in our respective career paths.”

Gitlin introduced Melanie Cataldi, BS ’98, CNHP’s keynote speaker. Cataldi is a committed leader and collaborator for social justice with over 21 years of experience at Philabundance including founding the Philabundance Community Kitchen (PCK), a culinary arts workforce development training and employment program for adults who qualify for public assistance.

An experienced community impact strategist and a member of the 2022 People of Purpose, Cataldi began her address by referencing author and “unshakable optimist” Simon Sinek who talks a lot about “Finding Your Why.” “Your why is the thing that you give to the world, the thing that makes you who you are; it’s the fundamental core of what inspires you. My “why” is that I’m a Defender of People,” she shared. She has a superpower—seeing the big picture with the ability to develop, protect, motivate and move people forward toward a common goal.

Two females wearing blue and gold caps and gownsFollowing the themes spoken of by Gitlin and During, Cataldi talked about how interprofessional collaboration is the only way she sees to achieving both food and health equity. “The causes of health inequity are complex and interwoven. Anti-hunger organizations and affordable housing builders, public and private entities and academic institutions are all part of the solution,” Cataldi argued.

Acknowledging the structural and social determinants of health, like housing, education, transportation, and food, Cataldi stated that most people would argue that food and shelter are key among those because they represent the most basic of essential needs. From Cataldi’s perspective, food equity is part of the struggle of overall health equity. Looking at the last two years, what touches one affects all with long-lasting and pervasive repercussions, and what we have done to alleviate these wide-reaching problems isn’t working.

Two people wearing Drexel University caps and gownsBecause this work will neither be easy nor quick, Cataldi challenged our graduates to find their why. “I bet if I sat down with each of you, whether your focus is research or direct service, whether you studied nursing, health administration, health sciences, nutrition, hospitality management, culinary arts and food science, creative art therapies, counseling, physician assistance or physical therapy and rehabilitation science, we would find something that is congruent with making things better—for people, for families, for communities. It’s been my experience that really understanding your “why”, your superpower, and then leveraging that in collaboration with others, is the key to success in just about everything be it family dynamics, relationships in the workplace or reaching organizational goals,” concluded Cataldi.

Below is a list of award winners from around the College.

Dean's Awards

Nicholas Eltman, Dean’s Achievement Award
Melissa Fairfield, Dean’s Social Justice Award
June Maloney, Dean’s Clinical Service Award
Shel Myers, Dean’s Award

RN-BSN and Graduate Nursing Departments

Outstanding Graduate Award
Amy C. Plotts
Adriana Ava Banks
Kaitlin Balbo
Jillian Labatch
Anne Anderson
Vicki Zahos
Pam Hughes
Joncornel Kearney
Sarah Kendall
Stephanie Pileggi
Theodore A. Klitus
Erika Lockhart
Jessa Adiletto Lassor
Ashley Olszewski
Amy Elisabeth Elliott
Melissa Fairfield
Jordan Troxell
Amy Elizabeth Fafard

Thia Jackson Baugh, Online Student Recognition (RN-BSN)
Molly Laina Scott, Outstanding Achievement (RN-BSN)

Kristin Feightner, Kathleen Jennings-Dozier Memorial Award
Lindsey Ho, Joyce Lazzaro Lifelong Achievement Award
Emily Shaw, Hahnemann Hospital Nurse Alumnae Association Award

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences Department

Dominic DeLaurentis, Clinical Education Award
June Maloney, Dragon Service Award
Brianna Wagner, Leadership Award
Natalia Oliveira, Health Equity and Social Impact Award
Drew Petersen, Scholarly Excellence Award
Kerri Yacovelli, PT, MSPT, OCS, Clinical Instructor Award

Creative Arts Therapies Department

Ming Yuan Low, PhD, PhD Program in Creative Arts Therapies Teaching Promise Award and Leadership Promise Awards
Brigette K. Schneible, PhD Program in Creative Arts Therapies Research Promise Award
Natalia Alvarez-Figueroa, Rachel Haimovich, Jonathon Jenkins and Cynthia Jones, Clinical Supervisors Award Lana Sommers, MA Leadership Award
James Lavino and Lydia Patselas, MA Artistry Award
Zevi B. Koretz, MA Service Award
Rachel Chang, Tahsina Miah and Carolina Millard, MA Clinical Excellence Award
Elizabeth Allen, MA Culminating Project
Briana Marsh, Nitasha Kang And Jennifer Willbanks, Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award (JEDI)
Angela Kodokian, Lana Sommers and Taylor A. Sparks, MA Overall Achievement Award
Hayley Beck, The Dianne Dulicai Award for Dance/Movement Therapy

Alpha Eta Honor Society, the National Honor Society for the Allied Health Professions
Hayley Beck
Angela Kodokian
James Lavino
Ming Yuan Low
Tahsina Miah
Brigette Schneible
Lana Sommers
Taylor A. Sparks

Written by Roberta S. Perry


Juneteenth banner with red, black and green stripes on the left and African-American Freedom Day, Juneteenth, June 19 on the right 

June 19, 1865 marked the beginning of an era of great hope, uncertainty and struggle for newly freed enslaved people and for our nation. It is important to know our history—African American history is American history. We are a rich part of the fabric of this country who have changed the face of urban and American culture. African Americans, 157 years later, continue to be inspired and empowered to transform their lives and make an impact on society. The ability to have our stories told is vital!

As Imani Perry wrote for The Atlantic, “Racism is terrible. Blackness is not.

The work I do on the CNHP Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and my involvement in other DEI initiatives is so very critical in combating discrimination and inequity. To dismantle systemic racism and to call out the injustices that continue today against African Americans and other people of color, we know for sure it is collective work that requires input, engagement, and commitment from all of us to go on righting the wrongs of society. I believe we are called to make changes, move forward and pave the way for the next generation. We must persist in our efforts to prevent racism and violence towards others. As we celebrate Juneteenth this year think of the lives that were lost and sacrificed throughout history, the progress we’ve made in guaranteeing equity and equality and the leaders who inspire us to face today’s challenges with strength and determination.

“Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory or an acceptance of the way things are. It’s a celebration of progress. It’s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible—and there is still so much work to do.”  —Barack Obama, Former U.S. President

Written by Marcia Penn, MEd, director of special projects and member of the 2022 People of Purpose cohort


Two young female adults with dark hair pulled back wearing scrubs. Amanda Vidal is in navy scrubs on the left and Adriana Vidal is in white scrubs on the left.As with many health professions, the key to a successful and rewarding nursing career is connection, and Adriana and Amanda Vidal were born with a very special one. They are twins.

Growing up in Teaneck, NJ, the Vidal sisters did many activities together like rowing on the crew team and volunteering at a local hospital in high school. Both these endeavors were influential as nursing students and deciding to participate in extracurricular activities.

Drexel University popped up on their radar while spending time in Philadelphia for weekend races on the Schuylkill River. As they researched nursing programs and universities, it was Drexel’s co-op program at the College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) that caught their attention, but it was meeting the student ambassadors during their visit that put them over the top. They were impressed by the students’ experiences and their enthusiasm about how dedicated and supportive the faculty members had been in their academic careers. “We knew this was our school after talking to these students,” Amanda commented. This interaction was so memorable for the twins that they, themselves, became student ambassadors to help recruit new students.

As Adriana and Amanda progressed through the BSN program, they encountered some challenges with their Pharmacology I, MedSurg I courses in their sophomore year, and sought support from assistant clinical professors Meghan Shattuck, MSN, and Danielle Devine, PhD . And during their senior year, Maureen Gonzales, MSN, assistant clinical professor who specializes in women's health supported the sisters. Adriana recalls one particular time when it took their professor just seconds to respond when she reached out. “The professor eagerly met with us. They definitely pushed us to keep going and to strive to become the nurses that we are today."

The BSN Co-op program is something for which Drexel is well known. Offering a four-year and a five-year program, students gain a competitive edge by having previous employment experience at major healthcare agencies. Many students figure out which specialty they’d like to pursue after their co-ops. Adriana and Amanda’s Drexel co-op experience occurred during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adriana worked at a community hospital in Perth Amboy, NJ as a "floating" patient care assistant. She helped out on every floor, including medical-surgery (or med/surg), the intensive care unit (ICU), cardiac care and the emergency department. "I was with COVID patients, those who were just recovering and those who were ventilated," Adriana remarked. "I saw a wide range of care during my co-ops and learned that I liked the intensive care unit. And that's what led me to work on the stepdown unit and, in the future, hopefully working in an intensive care unit."

Amanda did her co-op at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, caring for adults in kidney and liver transplants. Even knowing her hope was to work with children, the hospital's talent acquisition coordinator wanted to give Amanda an opportunity to capitalize on these temporary positions. "She wanted to expose me to different areas to see if there was something I’d like that better than pediatrics," Amanda acknowledged. However, her co-op, along with working in pediatrics during her clinical senior year, confirmed her passion for working with children. "I love seeing them smile," Amanda beamed. "I know they're always at a tough spot in their life when they're in the hospital, and they want to go home. Being able to be part of their journey of getting better always warms my heart."

While on campus, Adriana and Amanda got involved with student organizations, like Latinos for a United Campus. “It was very important to us to provide a comfortable space for Hispanic students from across campus to gather and share their culture with the broader community,” they stated. The organization hosted a Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, festival when several student organizations gathered to share photos of loved ones who have passed. "We wanted to collaborate with other organizations and learn about and celebrate their holidays and customs. We thought ‘let's celebrate with you, and you celebrate with us," remembered Amanda.

Amanda worked as the group’s events coordinator, and Adriana, the treasurer, and in their senior year, they served as co-presidents of the organization.

The Drexel University Student Nurses Association (DUSNA) provided the sisters opportunities to link up with other nursing students. From study groups, where students who had completed anatomy or microbiology helped those currently taking those courses, to the educational and social events—trips to conferences and conventions—DUSNA facilitated these all-too-important connections

Now that they are nurses, Adriana and Amanda say they are grateful for how well CNHP prepared them for what they see daily. Recently Adriana recognized a diagnosis unfamiliar to a more experienced nurse with whom she was working. "I knew what it was right away,” she said proudly. “Our professors so often repeated, ‘you need to make sure you know this.’ So, I got to educate my colleague about that diagnosis,” Adriana explained.

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