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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.

News & Events



In recent months, some CNHP faculty have been recognized for their research, commitment to social justice, leadership and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Ebony White, PhD, LPC, NCC, ACSEbony White, PhD, assistant clinical professor in Counseling and Family Therapy, was awarded the Dr. Judy Lewis Counselors for Social Justice Award from the American Counseling Association. The Dr. Judy Lewis Counselors for Social Justice Award recognizes a person (or persons) who has (have) engaged in social justice and advocacy aimed at making the lives of others and/or communities better through empowerment, community organizing and/or systems change through active engagement. This is a national award and speaks to White's historic and ongoing service in support of systemic change for underserved, marginalized and oppressed persons.

The National Diversity Council is an organization dedicated to being both a resource and an advocate for the value of diversity and inclusion. They have recognized two CNHP faculty members as Top 50 Healthcare Professionals for being medical professionals who are changemakers in the area of diversity and inclusion.

Roberta WaiteRoberta Waite, EdD, professor, associate dean for Community-Centered Health & Wellness and Academic Integration and executive director of the Stephen & Sandra Sheller 11th St. Family Health Services, received the Leadership Excellence in Leadership Award.



Fran Cornelius, PhD, MSN, RN-BC, CNE 

Fran Cornelius, PhD, assistant dean of Teaching, Learning and Engagement and Clinical and professor, received the Leadership Excellence in Technology Award 2021.



Patti ZuzeloThe Pennsylvania Diversity Council, part of the National organization, honored Patti Zuzelo, EdD, a clinical professor in the Department Graduate Nursing, with the 2021 Pennsylvania LGBTQ+ Ally Award during its June 2, 2021 virtual Summit. The theme of this year's Pennsylvania LGBYQ+ Unity Summit was the "Intersections of Allyship."

These individuals possess the highest commitment to growth and the advancement of an inclusive community. This award honors leaders who are advancing healthcare in meaningful and moving ways within society at-large. 

Veronica CareyVeronica Carey, PhD, assistant dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, associate clinical professor Counseling and Family Therapy Department and chair of the Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, was awarded the Dr. Ewaugh F. Fields Legacy Award 2021 at the Drexel University Black Alumni Council (DUBAC) Virtual Alumni Weekend Mixer. Dr. Fields was the first African-American woman dean at Drexel University.


Loretta JemmotteLoretta Sweet Jemmott, PhD, vice president, Health and Health Equity and professor in Graduate Nursing was unanimously selected to receive the Lazarex Cancer Foundation Disruptor Award. The Lazarex Cancer Foundation Disruptor Award is presented to individuals who have responded with urgency, taking action to combat low minority participation in cancer clinical trials. These individuals are disrupting the current status quo by raising awareness about existing problems, putting patients interests first and demonstrating a commitment to working on solutions. "I can’t even begin to think of another person who is more deserving of this award than you," said Dana Dornsife, founder and CEO of the foundation.


Congratulations on the graduation of the William and Theresa M. Rubert Memorial Scholarship Trust recipients.

Theresa Rubert entered Hahnemann Hospital School of Nursing in 1926. With the help of a small loan from her sister, she was able to meet her tuition expenses and successfully complete her studies as a graduate nurse. To show her appreciation for her sister's loan, which made her education possible, this scholarship was established to provide help with tuition for nursing students in the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

This scholarship is available to first-degree students who maintain full-time enrollment in the BSN Cooperative Education undergraduate nursing program and maintain acceptable clinical performance. Students must be going into their pre-junior or junior year with a 3.0 GPA and demonstrate a significant financial need. They must also satisfactorily complete their community service.

More than 72 Rubert scholarships have been awarded to-date having a value of over two million dollars. Individual scholarships may vary, but students are generally awarded $10,000/year for tuition, fees and housing.

The four Rubert Scholars who were part of the Class of 2021 graduates are:

Headshot of Rubert Scholar Nikki Cannon
Nicole Cannon: four-year co-op.

Headshot of Rubert Scholar Julie Kim
Julie Kim: four-year co-op.

Headshot of Rubert Scholar Alyse Noll
Alyse Noll: five-year co-op.

Headshot of Rubert Scholar Youngeun Park
Youngeun Park: five-year co-op.


Drexel alumna Holly Hagy, BSN '15, a school nurse and a nurse at Socorro General Hospital.“COVID-19 has magnified health and technical inequities, especially in rural communities, that have existed for a very long time” says Hagy from her office in the Magdalena Schools in Magdalena, New Mexico. In her dual roles as a school nurse and a nurse at Socorro General Hospital, Hagy has been caring for patients and students for more than five years. On any given night, she could care for a newborn baby who is just two days old, as well as tending to an elderly patient on hospice care. “There are so many rewards practicing in rural areas, including getting to know your patients. As a nurse in a critical access hospital, I need to be versed in many areas. I wouldn’t trade this for any other position at any other place.”

Southwest of Albuquerque, nestled in the mountains in the high desert of central New Mexico, Magdalena has a population of about 900 people. Hagy says, “living in a rural area—especially during COVID-19 has been difficult. Lack of internet connectivity and services for the students, and all the death that has occurred has been traumatizing. In a small community, you know the people who have died—or the grandchildren or the cousins.” Hagy adds that, “it has also been a saving grace, since we have wide-open spaces to venture outside to ease the isolation related to COVID.”

At the hospital, Hagy chose to care for the patients with COVID-19. “I would not allow my tech or co-nurse to go into the rooms of patients who had COVID. It was my way of taking care of my team.” There are 12 beds in their hospital, and at times, the nurse-to-patient ratio is 1:1. At the hospital, shifts are 5:00-to-5:00, not 7:00-to-7:00 like most hospitals. Hagy works weekend nights, so the other nurses can have weekends with their families. As a critical access hospital, patients come from as far away as 130 miles to be seen, because it is the closest hospital. “We also have some people who are only 15 minutes away from the hospitals in Albuquerque, but prefer our emergency department,” says Hagy, “because they know they will be seen immediately at our hospital. We have a great little hospital.” One of the things she appreciates about it is the head of the hospital is a nurse. “I think it keeps the humanity of nursing present as the underlying current of the hospital.”Photo of prickly pear Drexel alumna Holly Hagy, BSN '15, saw on a June 2020 walk.

During the week, Hagy is the school nurse at the Magdalena School, serving students in grades pre-K through 12. The graduating class in 2021 had ten students, many of whom are Navajo. COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted tribal communities across the United States. According to NPR, “Native Americans are among the most at risk when it comes to contracting the virus and have died at more than twice the rate of white people.” In the spring 2020, the Navajo Nation held the highest per-capital infection rate of COVID-19 in the U.S. Almost a year later, the Navajo Nation has made significant progress vaccinating adults. “Over half the adult population on the Navajo Nation has been vaccinated, but to reach herd immunity we need more people to get vaccinated,” said Navajo Nation President, Jonathan Nez. New Mexico is also leading in vaccination rates and continues to rank in the top states. In a year that has caused immense challenges, Hagy has been in awe of the support and kindness from the entire community. As the specific needs became apparent for families in the school community, an email was sent to school staff seeking cleaning supplies and food. Without fail, in the morning, Hagy would find donations at the school to help families in need.

Hagy had an early window into the need for and importance of health practitioners in rural communities. During a family vacation to Maine, her father ended up at the local critical access hospital. Learning that other patients had traveled two hours to get to the hospital was eye opening, because she grew up within 20 minutes of two major hospitals in Connecticut. This inspired her interest in health care, as well as highlighting the critical role of rural health facilities.

After spending decades running a marketing and advertising company with her husband, Hagy chose nursing as her second career. “My first degree was in chemistry and my intention was to go into the medical field. Thirty-five years later, I chose Drexel to fulfill that dream,” says Hagy. Prior to attending Drexel, spending time in Philadelphia was common for Hagy and her husband, who attended the Philadelphia Orchestra and Philadelphia Opera Company performances regularly. They would often drive around the streets of Philadelphia and during a driving excursion, they passed the Drexel University Dragon logo painted on the elevated train tracks on Market Street in University City. “I was really drawn to the logo and through research discovered that Drexel had several types of nursing programs.”

As a non-traditional student, Hagy thrived in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. She knew she wanted to practice in an area that was underserved, and ideally in a rural environment. Eager to advance her education, Hagy applied to the Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program and was accepted.

The Drexel Dragon on a fence in rural New Mexico.The Macy Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program is a voluntary for-credit leadership program designed for undergraduate students in public health, nursing and the health professions. It focuses on leadership skills to enhance capacity and efficacy. Interprofessional learning and development of structural competency, cultural sensitivity and racial literacy is supported. Students learn to address complex issues, gaining a deeper understanding of root causes of health inequities and strategies to promote collective efficacy in a safe environment. It was through this program that Hagy connected with Roberta Waite, EdD, professor, associate dean for Community-Centered Health & Wellness and Academic Integration and executive director of Stephen & Sandra Sheller 11th St. Family Health Services. “Holly soaked up everything in class and was open to learning while also contributing her unique lived experience,” says Waite. “She always had a passion for working with underserved populations, so I am not surprised that she took root in her current setting. She is living her values and passion and that is incredibly important.”

While studying at Drexel she began looking into positions through the National Rural Health Association, NRHA. Her experiences reinforced her interest in working in a rural area after graduation. Through the NRHA, she received several invitations to visit hospitals, including Presbyterian. After visiting New Mexico, Hagy decided Socorro General Hospital, which is part of Presbyterian—was the right fit. She intends to remain in this role until she retires.

“Rural health is a worthy profession—it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some larger hospitals—but there are so many other rewards received when practicing in rural America,” says Hagy, “including the reaction of some of my students when they see me grocery shopping. They always greet me and say ‘Hi, Nurse Holly’.

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