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Graduate Nursing Department

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The goal of the College's nursing programs is to prepare every student to think critically, and practice nursing competently and compassionately in rapidly changing practice environments. All efforts are designed to build nursing knowledge, enhance nursing practice and patient safety, foster professional integrity, and ultimately improve the health outcomes of patients, families, and communities across the continuum of care. In addition, certain functional abilities are essential for the delivery of safe, effective nursing care during clinical training activities. Therefore, the faculty has determined that certain technical standards are requisite for admission, progression, and graduation from the nursing programs.

In addition to classroom learning, clinical learning occurs throughout the program and involves considerations (such as patient safety and clinical facilities) that are not present for classroom accommodations. For this reason, any applicant or student who seeks accommodations prior to or immediately after enrolling in the nursing programs must also request an assessment of the types of reasonable accommodations needed for the clinical training component of the program.

An individual must be able to independently, with or without reasonable accommodation, meet the following technical standards of general abilities and those specifically of (1) observation; (2) communication; (3) motor; (4) intellectual, conceptual, and quantitative abilities; (5) essential behavioral and social attributes; and (6) ability to manage stressful situations. Individuals unable to meet these technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, will not be able to complete the program and are counseled to pursue alternate careers.

General Abilities: The student is expected to possess functional use of the senses of vision, touch, hearing, and smell so that data received by the senses may be integrated, analyzed, and synthesized in a consistent and accurate manner. A student must also possess the ability to perceive pain, pressure, temperature, position, vibration, and movement that are important to the student's ability to gather significant information needed to effectively evaluate patients. A student must be able to respond promptly to urgent situations that may occur during clinical training activities and must not hinder the ability of other members of the health care team to provide prompt treatment and care to patients.

Observational Ability: The student must have sufficient capacity to make accurate visual observations and interpret them in the context of laboratory studies, medication administration, and patient care activities. In addition, the student must be able to document these observations and maintain accurate records.

Communication Ability: The student must communicate effectively both verbally and non-verbally to elicit information and to translate that information to others. Each student must have the ability to read, write, comprehend, and speak the English language to facilitate communication with patients, their family members, and other professionals in health care settings. In addition, the student must be able to maintain accurate patient records, present information in a professional, logical manner and provide patient counseling and instruction to effectively care for patients and their families. The student must possess verbal and written communication skills that permit effective communication with instructors and students in both the classroom and clinical settings.

Motor Ability: The student must be able to perform gross and fine motor movements with sufficient coordination needed to perform complete physical examinations utilizing the techniques of inspection, palpation, percussion, auscultation, and other diagnostic maneuvers. A student must develop the psychomotor skills reasonably needed to perform or assist with procedures, treatments, administration of medication, management and operation of diagnostic and therapeutic medical equipment, and such maneuvers to assist with patient care activities such as lifting, wheel chair guidance, and mobility. The student must have sufficient levels of neuromuscular control and eye-to-hand coordination as well as possess the physical and mental stamina to meet the demands associated with extended periods of sitting, standing, moving, and physical exertion required for satisfactory and safe performance in the clinical and classroom settings including performing CPR, if necessary. The student must possess the ability of manual dexterity that would be required for certain activities, such as drawing up solutions in a syringe.

Intellectual, Conceptual, and Quantitative Abilities: The student must be able to develop and refine problem-solving skills that are crucial to practice as a nurse. Problem-solving involves the abilities to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize objective and subjective data, and to make decisions, often in a time urgent environment, that reflect consistent and thoughtful deliberation and sound clinical judgment. Each student must demonstrate mastery of these skills and possess the ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the nursing and medical literature to formulate sound judgment in patient assessment, intervention, evaluation, teaching, and setting short and long term goals.

Behavioral and Social Attributes: Compassion, integrity, motivation, effective interpersonal skills, and concern for others are personal attributes required of those in the nursing programs. Personal comfort and acceptance of the role of a nurse functioning under supervision of a clinical instructor or preceptor is essential for a nursing student. The student must possess the skills required for full utilization of the student's intellectual abilities; the exercise of good judgment; the prompt completion of all responsibilities in the classroom and clinical settings; and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and other members of the health care team. Each student must be able to exercise stable, sound judgment and to complete assessment and interventional activities. The ability to establish rapport and maintain sensitive, interpersonal relationships with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds is critical for practice as a nurse. The student must be able to adapt to changing environments; display flexibility; accept and integrate constructive criticism given in the classroom and clinical settings; effectively interact in the clinical setting with other members of the healthcare team; and learn to function cooperatively and efficiently in the face of uncertainties inherent in clinical practice.

Ability to Manage Stressful Situations: The student must be able to adapt to and function effectively to stressful situations in both the classroom and clinical settings, including emergency situations. The student will encounter multiple stressors while in the nursing programs. These stressors may be (but are not limited to) personal, patient care/family, faculty/peer, and or program-related.

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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.


White female in a gray t-shirt, wearing glasses and a head band holding a large domestic cat“My hope, for when I graduate from CNHP, is that I will be able to take the skills, ideas and concepts I’ve learned to treat the whole patient with compassionate care,” says Carly Campbell, BSN, and current graduate student in the MS in Complementary and Integrative Health program. Campbell currently serves as an oncology nurse and balances her career with advancing her studies at Drexel. 

As a full-time nurse, in addition to master’s student, Campbell is aware of the current challenges facing nursing in 2022, and yet she remains hopeful that new perspectives on persistent health inequities may lead to more robust and individualized care for patients.

“Everything can feel rushed in a hospital,” Campbell notes. “It can be such a challenge to delivering quality care. And yet, I am someone who has always believed that I am treating a whole person. They are not just their disease.”

A low coffee table scattered with stacks of white papers surrounded by a school notebook, text book and open laptopCampbell was drawn to Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions for her graduate studies because the Complementary and Integrative Health program offered her the opportunity to study health and wellness from internationally recognized leaders in the field. This evidence-based program provides health care professionals with the tools to assess, guide and evaluate patients by merging complementary and integrative health practices into the framework of conventional clinical practice. Coursework explores topics such as phytomedicine, functional nutrition and mind/body modalities, providing a solid foundation in core competencies, as well as a theoretical basis for applying these practices.

“Take cancer, for example,” Campbell suggests. “If you receive a cancer diagnosis, you may also receive a chemotherapy treatment plan. We have chemo for a reason, and yet we also have mindfulness, meditation, essential oils, yoga and more. These interventions are common in other countries and have been practiced for centuries. It is considered ‘novel’ in the United States, and yet, my program at Drexel highlights how these are also options for patients.”

Campbell says that one of the biggest surprises of her nursing career so far has been a passion for palliative care. While some may see a challenging diagnosis or long-term treatment plan, Campbell sees an opportunity to grow her communication skills as a nurse to best learn about and tend to the multi-faceted needs of her patients.

MSN student Carly Campbell is showing Philadelphia Flyers mascot, Gritty, how to wear personal protective gear
A very different kind of protective gear for Philly Flyers mascot.
“I love palliative care,” Campbell shares. “While I didn’t anticipate becoming such a passionate advocate for palliative care education, it has become one of my favorite areas of healthcare.”

From her graduate studies, Campbell is learning how to stitch together Western medicine’s tools, techniques and procedures with international perspectives on wellness and healing. “When you take a complimentary approach to palliative care,” Campbell concludes, “You can really help patients live their best, most comfortable lives.”



Written by Izzy Lopez


In January 2022, the AgeWell Collaboratory at Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions funded seven $10,000 pilot grants within the Drexel community to advance our commitment to being an Age-Friendly University. The University received an Age-Friendly University designation in 2019, which is based on 10 principles that reflect our commitment to embracing generational diversity; disrupting ageism; fostering intergenerational connectivity; innovating through age-related research; and understanding the intersectionality of aging, race, ethnicity and health disparities. Each of the inaugural projects below support these essential elements of our Age-Friendly University and will be completed in one year.

A group of people, young and older adults, seated and standing outside in front of foliage.The Age-friendly Ross Commons Audit is being led by Rachel Wenrick, PhD, founding director, Writers Room and associate teaching professor of English; and D. S. Nicholas, NCIDQ, associate professor, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design; director MS Design Research. The project launched on April 15, 2022 with a design charrette aimed at identifying, evaluating and planning improvements needed to ensure that Ross Commons (Writers Room’s home for public programming and the anchor of Second Story Collective) is an age-friendly building. Attendees included, members of the Drexel and West Philadelphia communities, students and alumni, faculty and staff, retirees, and even a neighboring business. The grant funds will be utilized to fund select improvements.

Women and men wearing masks over their noses and mouths studying photos laid out on a table.A Novel Community-based Participatory Design Side-by-Side Course with Older Asian Adults is being led by June He, IDSA, assistant professor, Product Design, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, in collaboration with Catherine Quay MSN, RN-BC, CNE, assistant clinical professor, Undergraduate Nursing, College of Nursing and Health Professions. The course will bring together Drexel students of all ages and members of Philadelphia’s older-adult Asian community to develop age-friendly products that are human-centered and inclusive. The process and products will be displayed in a public venue and will contribute to the development of a new Drexel Empathetic Co-Design Lab, which aims to foster participatory design work with diverse communities.

Five older adults seated at desks on which notebooks and pens sit.Life is Beautiful 2.0: Proof of Concept for Drexel’s New Lifelong Learning Program is being led by Kena Sears-Brown, MBA, director, Continuing Professional Education & Workforce Initiatives, Goodwin College of Professional Studies; Ken Bingham, MA, teaching professor, English, College of Arts and Sciences; and Nikki Bromberg, MSW, associate director, Alumni Relations, Institutional Advancement. Life is Beautiful is an undergraduate university course that connects students to hospice patients or other older adults in students’ lives to write their life stories. Life is Beautiful 2.0 is a pilot project that will bring this novel program to an adult learner audience. This aligns with Drexel’s new Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning strategic goal.

Young and older adults performing overhead stretches with an instructor in a large community room.Revealing and Reducing “Invisible” Boundaries: Conducting an Equity Audit of Access and Inclusion to Drexel Health, Wellness and Recreation Programs for Older Adult Promise Neighborhood Community Members is being led by Stephanie Smith Budhai, PhD, associate clinical professor, School of Education and faculty fellow, Lindy Center for Civic Engagement; Carrie Hutnick, MEd, associate director for Community-Based Learning, Lindy Center for Civic Engagement; and Cameron Kiosoglous, PhD, assistant clinical professor, School of Education. This project will focus on conducting an equity audit of Drexel’s existing portfolio of health, wellness and recreation programs. Equipped with this information, the team aims to improve the alignment of existing programs to meet the specific needs and diverse interests of older adults who live within the West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhood.

Two older female adults seated at a table with one explaining something on a tablet.Seeking Digital Equity for Older Adults through a Novel Tech Ambassador Program is being led by the ExCITe Center’s Director, Youngmoo Kim, PhD, professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering; Andy Stutzman, project director for Civic Technology; and Lauren Sato, AmeriCorps VISTA for Digital Inclusion. The project seeks to address the digital divide for older adults in the West Philadelphia Promise Zone through a tech ambassador program staffed by Drexel students, staff and community members. Through this program, older adults will receive a tablet computer, assistance with free Internet access and 1-on-1 training using Generations on Line tutorials. The program will provide valuable tech and customer service skills training to Drexel students and local community members.

Two female women, one an older adult wearing virtual reality glasses and the other younger assisting her.Virtual Shoes: Using Virtual Reality to Enhance Safety and Foster Better Design for Older Adults in the Built Environment is being led by Donald McEachron, PhD, teaching professor, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems; Adam Zahn, MS, director, Global Engagement, Office of Global Engagement; Eugenia Victoria Ellis, PhD, AIA, associate professor emerita, College of Engineering & Westphal College of Media Arts & Design; and Nicholas Jushchyshyn, MFA, program director, Virtual Reality & Immersive Media, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. The project is an international, intergenerational, virtual exchange that will begin at Drexel and proceed to the Politecnico di Milano in Italy. It will utilize virtual reality to allow older and younger adults to experience each other’s perceptual environments, enhance navigational skills and improve architectural design. This project will allow each generation to walk in each other's shoes for the betterment of all.

Black and white photo of West Philadelphia High SchoolThe West Philadelphia Community Archivists: An Age-Friendly Participatory Heritage Project is being led by L Ayana Allen-Handy, PhD, associate professor, Urban Education, and director, Justice-oriented Youth (JoY) Education Lab in the School of Education. In partnership with West Philadelphia High School (WPHS), this effort brings together Drexel faculty and students, WPHS current students and older adult members of the WPHS Alumni Association to participate in a community-led participatory heritage project. As the West Philadelphia African American community contends with the impacts of gentrification, residential displacement and community change, this project will contribute to the preservation of the rich legacy of the city of Philadelphia’s first high school west of the Schuylkill River, dating back to 1912.

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