Jonathan Giangrosso (MSN, RN, APRN, FNP-BC) knew he wanted to be a nurse when he graduated from high school in 2003. He considered attending the Capstone College of Nursing at The University of Alabama, and he had a literal UA cheerleader encouraging him.
“My aunt, Renee Mader (class of 1993), is the current President of the Alabama Alumni Association – Central Mississippi, and she cheered at Alabama when she was a student. And my uncle (Jim Giangrosso, class of 1993) played football when he was a student there, so I had some strong family ties to UA,” he said. However, Jonathan’s family ties to Mississippi were stronger, and he opted to stay close to home for his undergraduate education. “I stayed local for the farm and to be close to family and everything.”
Over the next several years, in addition to helping on the family chicken farm on weekends and evenings, Jonathan earned his associate degree in Nursing, his associate degree in Arts and his EMT certificate from Copiah-Lincoln Community College, in Wesson, MS. “I spent about six years at a two-year school because I played percussion in the band and the band director kept asking me to come back and keep playing. I really enjoyed it and met a lot of cool people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.”
For most of those years, Jonathan was balancing school and family (and percussion) along with work as a nurse. He started working as a registered nurse in 2008 and has worked in the emergency room at Magee General Hospital since 2010 as a part-time nurse, usually working full-time hours. He’s also been busy roaming the U.S. as a travel nurse. “I’ve been to Hawaii, Texas, Salt Lake City, California several times — all over the country, really. I spent all of 2014 in Hawaii and they asked me to stay and make it permanent, but I turned it down.” Once again, Jonathan decided to be close to his family in Mississippi.
In 2016, Jonathan earned his Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from William Carey University in Hattiesburg, MS, and began considering nurse practitioner programs he could pursue while continuing to work full time. A coworker, Jennifer Aultman, was a year into the Master of Nursing with Nurse Practitioner concentration (MSN) available in a primarily online format from The University of Alabama, and she had good things to say about it. “She helped me navigate through the application, and then, of course, I had my family pushing for me to choose UA. I guess their hard work got me there in the end!” In Fall 2018, Jonathan began his MSN through 100% online coursework, local clinical practicum and two campus visits.
“It was stressful at first. The first online meeting we had, they explained everything that would be required, and it was overwhelming. But it was a gradual process. We took it bit by bit, and they weren’t throwing us off the cliff that first semester!”
Jonathan says having his friend Jennifer a year ahead of him in the program was helpful. He also noted that his professors and advisers were very supportive. “My clinical adviser, Sharon Sloupe, was really great. On the first day, she gave us her personal cell phone number and told us to text or call her anytime we had questions or concerns, and she was always really responsive.”
He says the coursework enhanced his perspective for better patient care. “It just opened my eyes. Now I know why we do certain things — it all makes sense. I know how to read lab levels and piece together the disease process from what the lab values represent. It’s made me a more informed health care provider.”
His favorite part of the program was the clinical portion. “It was valuable actually being in a provider role in a clinical setting and providing patient care, being hands-on with patients, and collaborating with my preceptors. Whether it was a physician or nurse practitioner I was working with, being able to provide recommendations for treatment and follow-up care — that was the best part.”
Jonathan graduated in May 2020 but came to campus to participate in commencement ceremonies in August 2020. Over the summer, he passed his family nurse practitioner certification exam and will soon begin practicing at Magee General Hospital as a contracted nurse practitioner. His future goals include getting a few years of experience as an ER nurse practitioner before resuming his adventures as a traveling nurse practitioner. He’s excited to make a difference — in Mississippi and abroad — as a nurse practitioner.
“You get patients where you know that what you did is the reason they’re alive today — and that makes everything worth it.”
Published: September 5th, 2020