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Emboldened By Experience, New Nurse Takes on Philadelphia

March 15, 2016

Less than three years after graduating, Abbie McGee, BSN ’13, has found a way to give back to the Drexel community while taking advantage of the robust health care environment Philadelphia has to offer. As a part-time staff member of Drexel’s Nursing Academic Clinical Support Services (NACSS), Abbie helps currently enrolled students overcome academic challenges; as a Drexel-educated nurse, Abbie seizes the opportunities available to her thanks to her hard work and dedication as an undergraduate student.

“I wanted to sharpen my skills across the board rather than pigeonholing myself,” say McGee, reflecting on her employment over the past seven years and desire to broaden her skill set. McGee currently works at the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center on what she describes as a medical-surgical, or “med-surg,” floor. In addition to caring for patients with myriad conditions, McGee has immersed herself in the culture at Penn Presbyterian to maximize her learning opportunities.

“I’m on the wound care task force, I’ve precepted for students and I’m in a pilot role for shift nurses where you work from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. to admit and discharge patients,” said McGee. Despite assuming extra duties, McGee maintains a friendly and optimistic disposition. She enjoys being a part of the nursing community, and attributes that to the positive and welcoming staff at Penn Presbyterian.

In addition to shift work three days per week, McGee finds time to tutor students at Drexel’s NACSS one day per week. She’s also enrolled in a Family Nurse Practitioner MSN program at the University of Pennsylvania, and minoring in Nurse Education. This isn’t surprising given her role at the NACSS, and former tenure as a Peer Tutor at the Center for Academic Success (CAS). It’s clear that McGee has a passion for helping patients, then translating that experience into tutoring opportunities for the Drexel community.

McGee has always had a positive impression when it comes to Drexel, dating back to her senior year of high school. Having to choose between Drexel and Penn, McGee chose Drexel because of the student body. “Students were friendly and engaging. Drexel had a much more positive vibe than some of the other schools I was looking at,” said McGee. “I also knew that I wanted to study abroad and have a Co-op, and Drexel was the only place that offered me those options.”

She certainly took advantage of all the possibilities her Drexel education provided.

In addition to studying abroad in London the spring term of her junior year, McGee completed three six-month Co-ops.

Her first Co-op was at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where she worked in their lactation department. Adjacent to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, McGee’s work focused on projects ranging from breastmilk audits to handwashing initiatives. “I got to see the whole hospital – including the NICU and the lactation department.”

McGee’s second Co-op took her to the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania where she worked as a nurse assistant. During this experience McGee was on a med-surg floor and worked her first night shift. “The nurses I worked with were really great,” said McGee. “They quizzed me, let me perform tasks supervised and exposed me to many things I might not have seen on my own.”

Last but not least, McGee went to Jefferson to work on a post-operation floor. With just 14 patients on her floor, McGee was able to get significant experience with patients recovering from surgery. In fact, McGee was able to work at Jefferson part-time until she graduated as a result of her hard work and dedication.

Despite all of her success, McGee wasn’t born ready for Co-op.

“It’s not a passive process. You have to engage and think, and make connections between coursework you’ve completed and what you see in the field,” said McGee. “You learn all the things that can’t be covered in a six-hour clinical.”

After experiencing it firsthand, McGee believes in a Drexel education and its benefits. “I marvel at how students without Co-ops learn about time management, prioritization and managing patients’ expectations. New nurses tend to be more time-focused, but that’s second nature for us,” said McGee.

At the end of the day McGee is thankful for all the opportunities she’s had and the experiences she’s benefitted from. “There’s nothing like working in an inner city hospital,” said McGee. Thankfully, Drexel nursing students have up to three opportunities to learn as much as McGee.

Students interested in Drexel’s BSN programs can contact Becky Hollm, Recruitment Manager, at or 267-359-5793.