Student Spotlight: Aviva Mandel
September 28, 2020
As a high school student who gravitated toward science and medicine, deciding to attend Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) was a focused decision for Aviva Mandel. With a direct curricular path into nursing and the opportunity to gain 18 months of work experience prior to graduation, these distinctive academic and professional hallmarks of CNHP have propelled Mandel toward her goals.
Mandel is beginning her final year at Drexel as a student in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, with a minor in exercise science. It was during her second year in the Foundations of Nursing Practice course, which centers on the concepts, skills and attitudes fundamental to professional nursing practice within a framework of clinical decision-making, that she decided that nursing was the right fit for her. The class combined lecture and lab, with particular emphasis on nurse/patient relationship-based care and hands-on experiences.
Professional working experience is central to Drexel’s distinctive educational model. Cooperative Education (co-op), provides students with up to 18 months of real-world work experience with industry leaders, while building an impressive résumé before graduation. This allows students to test-drive careers and see firsthand how the knowledge they've gained in the classroom is applied in the field.
Mandel chose the program that offered her a five-year program, including three distinctive co-op opportunities and 18-months of work experience. Each co-op helped her better understand the type of career she feels most connected to: one that allows her to establish meaningful relationships, helping younger patients to achieve the best health outcomes possible. Her first co-op placement was at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where she shadowed care providers in the postanesthesia care unit (PACU); her second co-op was at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in the transplant unit, where she worked with patients recovering from organ transplants and bariatric surgery; and her last co-op placement brought her back to CHOP, where she spent time in general rehabilitation with children who had been impacted by stroke, traumatic brain injury and other life altering events. This placement allowed Mandel to connect with her patients to see how their health and wellness improved with excellent care over time.
Support from faculty has been an important part of her Drexel experience, specifically engaging with Tasha Martin-Peters, MSN, who is an assistant clinical professor. Mandel was able to connect with Martin-Peters about different fields in nursing, learned important tips to think about as a future practitioner and appreciated her openness to student questions and concerns.
Beginning in her second year and continuing through her fifth, Mandel serves as a tutor for first-year students through the Center for Learning and Academic Success Services. In this role, she helps students, often in their first anatomy and physiology class gain the confidence and knowledge needed to be successful in this challenging course. Mandel has also connected with resource offices on campus, who support her academic goals as a student with dyslexia.
An active student on campus, Mandel is a member of the rock climbing community, where she excels as a top rope climber at the Drexel Recreation Center. Mandel is also part of the inclusive Hillel community at Drexel.