The College of Nursing and Health Professions announced that Drexel University Online will be opening two new certificate programs in the fall. The two new programs, one in pediatric rehabilitation and the other for integrated nursing care of autism spectrum disorders, are add-ons to existing graduate programs.
The pediatric rehabilitation certificate program is one of three advanced certificate programs offered at CNHP and is only offered to practicing physical therapists, according to the director of postprofessional clinical programs, Jane Fedorczyk. It is a 12-credit curriculum that includes five graduate-level courses. Although the program has been available for three years, Fedorczyk said the program is now being offered online in order to help marketing.
“The learning experiences are offered through distance learning materials, mediated by computer and the Internet. These materials will be a mixture of information and learning tasks such as didactic presentation of information through PowerPoints, videos, case studies, reputable Web-based resources, discussion boards, independent study, reflection, simultaneous virtual classroom sessions (audio chats), literature review and analysis, consultation with colleagues and community agencies, and application of material to participants’ practice setting and case load,” Lisa Chiarello, a professor who helped develop and teach the program, said.
Within the past three years, around 20 students have gone through the program, mostly from the East Coast. Pediatric rehabilitation deals with early intervention and school-based treatments of children between 18 months and 21 years of age. The program is designed to give specialized skills to physical therapists. According to Fedorczyk, the program includes six faculty members; five of them are pediatric specialists, four are researchers, and one is a clinician.
“One woman’s husband’s job transferred him to Croatia, and while she was living there for a year, she had a practice here, and while she was abroad she wanted to do something,” Fedorczyk explained. Although a student can participate in the online programs while abroad now, there is a requirement that the student must be licensed in physical therapy in the United States.
Fedorczyk, who coordinates the marketing and logistics of the program, said that the team focused on getting more students for the winter term. The pediatric rehabilitation program is one of the first in the country, and Fedorczyk views it as “cutting edge.”
“Qualified applicants should know how much they would gain from this program. Our faculty is well known throughout the physical therapy community,” she said.
On the other hand, the nursing care for ASD certificate is open to nursing students. It is a four-course curriculum that begins with NURS 540, Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder: Prevalence, Etiology, Screening and Assessment, in the fall 2013 term.
“The CNHP recognized an opportunity to transform health care for people with autism spectrum disorder by preparing nurses to integrate knowledge of ASD with the care they provide for other disorders,” Ellen Giarelli, an associate professor of the doctoral nursing program, wrote in an email. This nursing program is also ranked in the top 15 by U.S. News & World Report.
“Without such integration, patients’ needs might be identified incorrectly, services may not be delivered or will be delayed, and the quality of care and patient satisfaction will suffer. Integrated, comprehensive nursing care is our profession’s response to the fragmented delivery of health and social services that characterize the care of people with ASD,” Giarelli continued.
According to Giarelli, ASD has lifelong symptoms that affect the individuals who have it as well as the people around them. She said that it is most likely that a nurse will encounter someone with ASD within their career.
“These individuals are especially vulnerable due to complicated and ongoing health needs that are multidimensional; they are part medical, physical, psychological and social,” Giarelli said.
While the pediatric rehabilitation certificate is for practicing therapists, the integrated nursing care for ASD certificate is for post-bachelor’s studies.