At the heart of Frontier Nursing University is a talented and diverse community of students, alumni, faculty, staff, Couriers and preceptors. Spotlight blogs feature members of our FNU community that are focused on the mission of educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners to deliver quality health care to underserved and rural populations.
Frontier Nursing University (FNU) is proud to recognize faculty member Kristin Gianelis, DNP, APRN, ANP, WHNP, who was one of the recipients of the Winter 2021 Circle of Caring Award.
A resident of Barrington, Rhode Island, Gianelis serves as a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) faculty member for FNU. Through this role, she mentors DNP students to become agents of change in their communities. Outside of her work with the university, she also works in a clinical setting and dedicates her time to improving healthcare access for underserved populations.
“If I can provide patient-centered care to even a few individuals who wouldn’t have been able to receive healthcare otherwise, I consider my work a success,” she said. “I walk into each clinical day not knowing what I will encounter, but with only the intention of providing each person dignity, respect and the opportunity to have their individual needs met.”
Over the last 17 years, Gianelis has worked in a variety of settings as a dual-certified Women’s Health and Adult Nurse Practitioner. She currently works for an urban Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and provides OB/GYN care for a gender-diverse and largely undocumented immigrant population.
Gianelis said her initial inspiration to pursue nursing was to help women and families navigate normal life changes, but her scope of perspective has changed throughout her career.
“As I have developed a more broad understanding of gender and sexuality, I would now say that I recognized the importance of this aspect of our beings and honor the unique path to sexual wellness for each individual,” she said. “It is my honor to give voice to all individuals and provide patient-centered sexual health care across the lifespan.”
Before receiving her bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, Gianelis applied for immediate direct entry into a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program.
“I finished my bachelor’s on a Saturday and started my master’s on the following Monday,” she said.
Gianelis earned her MSN in 2005 after taking a break to work as a Registered Nurse (RN). She worked as a Nurse Practitioner (NP) for 13 years before earning her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from FNU.
“Obtaining my doctoral degree taught me to think differently,” she said. “It opened my eyes to quality improvement, developed leadership skills and gave me the confidence to be an agent of change in my community.”
After earning her DNP from FNU, Gianelis decided to stay with the university as a faculty member.
“I chose to work at Frontier because I firmly believe in the mission of this institution. I believe that health equity starts with educating a strong healthcare workforce for the entire country, especially those areas that are underserved.”
– Kristin Gianelis, DNP, APRN, ANP, WHNP
“I chose to work at Frontier because I firmly believe in the mission of this institution,” she said. “I believe that health equity starts with educating a strong healthcare workforce for the entire country, especially those areas that are underserved.”
Gianelis said she embraces FNU’s Culture of Caring, not only when interacting with fellow faculty members, but also with students.
“Working in the DNP program, I have the opportunity to mentor students longitudinally during their clinical quality initiative,” she said. “While they are my students, they are also my colleagues – fellow APRNs working in other parts of the country. Through our interactions, I have the opportunity to understand how practice and policy differs nationwide, while also expanding on my own narrow experience of life in the northeast. Not only does this enrich my life intellectually, but I am embraced by each students’ warmth and openness to share their experiences and unique points of view.”
The Culture of Caring also is important in the context of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) work at FNU, Gianelis said.
“I am here to amplify marginalized voices, shelter those who need rest, and support diversity in all its beauty,” she said.
Gianelis is married to her husband Steve, and has two children and a dog. She enjoys traveling, boating, cooking and reading.
Thank you, Kristin, for your dedication to providing healthcare access to underserved populations and for living out our Culture of Caring!
If you know an FNU staff or faculty member that goes above and beyond, nominate them now for the Circle of Caring Award!