Kent State DNP student receives prestigious scholarship

Erica Fowler

Kay Gianantonio, a scholar in the Kent State DNP Program, believes having more Doctors of Nursing Practice (DNPs) in the healthcare industry will help advance the nursing profession. Gianantonio is the first Kent State recipient of a $10,000 grant from Jonas Philanthropies.

“It’s very humbling, and I was very surprised,” said Gianantonio. “Especially when I realized how big of a deal this was.”

Jonas Philanthropies is one of the major national philanthropic groups that contributes to graduate nursing education, according to a press release from the College of Nursing. The organization aims to improve healthcare by funding students who are tackling some of the nation’s most pressing health concerns.

“It’s inspiring that they have the faith to give me this scholarship,” said Gianantonio. “So I do need to go forward and make some changes in healthcare.”

Jonas Philanthropies selected Gianantonio for the grant based on her DNP project proposal, which includes educating patients about the interactions between herbal supplements and other medications.

“There’s a lot of research that shows many patients are taking herbal supplements, but they don’t tell their provider about it,” said Lisa Onesko, director of the Kent State DNP Program.

“I am going to look at the supplements that people take, why they take them and what they think the benefit is,” said Gianantonio. “And then, provide education regarding those supplements and see if supplement use changes when they have evidence based education.”

Gianantonio’s inspiration for this project comes from witnessing patients experience these interactions during her 28-year-long career in the healthcare. She works at a small internal medicine clinic located in a rural area with a high poverty rate in Geneva, Ohio.

“There’s a lot of challenges in rural healthcare, but that’s kind of where my passion is,” said Gianantonio.

Gianantonio is also passionate about pursuing her DNP degree and credits Kent State for preparing her to work in the medical field.

“As a nurse practitioner, I think having a DNP gives more validity to the nursing profession,” said Gianantonio.

DNP is the highest degree for nursing and is practice-focused. “Anyone that wants to purse practice further with advanced leadership skills, knowledge of organizations, systems thinking; that’s the route they would go,” said Onesko. This differs from a Ph.D. which is research focused.

“Kent State has a good reputation and I have found that Kent graduates really know more,” said Gianantonio. “I think they have a lot more hands on work and are more ready to take on the world.”

Contact Erica Fowler at [email protected].