2024 DiversityNursing.com $5,000 Education Award Winner – Dionta Posey from Spartanburg, SC

by | May 28, 2024 | Education Award Winners | 0 comments

My Story

Dionta Posey, RN, BSN, NP Doctorate Student

The Winner of our 2024 DiversityNursing.com $5,000 Education Award is… Dionta Posey of Spartanburg, SC. Congratulations Dionta!!!

Dionta’s interest in science and healthcare was sparked by his grandmother. She raised him, and he always accompanied her to doctor’s appointments. He got to experience the “ins and outs” of the hospital at an early age. He saw the efficiencies and liked what he saw. In his early years, his love of science led him to consider a healthcare career. 

In middle school, he took life sciences and biology-related courses. When he was 13, his grandmother discovered a summer science camp at Clemson University. One of his chosen courses was “Beyond ER,” where he learned suturing exercises and dissected a cow fetus. Dionta said, “I like this,” confirming his desire to enter healthcare.

During high school, he took AP classes in Chemistry and Biology. Dionta was considering college and took extra classes that would look good on his college applications. 

When it came time for college application, he looked at schools with reputable science programs. He went to Claflin University in Orangeburg, SC. He was offered a full ride – room, board, and tuition. It is a small school that provided excellent 1-on-1 attention, which helped him excel in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry.

While majoring in Biology in the Honors College, he was required to complete community service hours each semester. He selected the Orangeburg-Calhoun Free Medical Clinic, a nurse-led clinic. Dionta had only a little exposure to nursing before that experience. He saw the registered nurses and NPs work as they managed complex patient cases, including care for the homeless population. During this experience, they became curious about him and wanted to know… Would he consider Nursing?

They set him up to shadow a nurse at a local hospital. Dionta observed multiple specialties, including med/surg and home health. Every time he shadowed, he loved it and realized nurses are incredible. He found passion in it. They asked him what he thought about pursuing nursing school.

After he graduated, Dionta wanted to return to his hometown, so he looked at USC Upstate. He applied to their nursing program and was accepted. They enrolled him in the program’s upper division due to his previous BS degree; he only had to complete two years to earn his BSN. 

Dionta is an admitted overachiever. He wanted an externship to set himself apart from other nursing students. He fell upon the summer nursing externship offered by the Mayo Clinic. It was a lengthy application process, but he got in! 

So he went to Rochester, MN and discovered much better weather in MN than SC in the summer! He was matched to the Oncology/Blood & Marrow transplant unit. He did not know what to expect as he didn’t have much oncology experience. He was delighted and realized… “I’m going to learn something new.”

During the Mayo Clinic paid externship, he was set up to be a working nurse M-F with 8-hour shifts. He got to explore MN on the weekends, and he loved his time there! 

Dionta returned home and graduated in December 2019. He applied to Emory Healthcare and Duke Health in the Blood and Marrow transplant units, which narrowed down his search because it’s very specialized. He was offered a job at both. He started at Duke Health in February 2020. One month later, in March 2020, they went into lockdown because of Covid. He “loved Duke; they are amazing!” He grew to love nursing and became confident in his skills. 

Because of his chosen specialty in oncology, he started to see health inequities and disparities. He noticed that some patients were more likely to have comorbidities and chronic conditions that worsened outcomes. He wondered, “What can I do as an RN”? He felt limited. 

Dionta started thinking about the next step in his nursing career. He wanted to offer a unique element to individual patients, which got him thinking about becoming an FNP. He knew some NPs and asked them lots of questions about their experiences. He continued to work as an RN and was experiencing Covid loneliness. He ultimately decided to move back to South Carolina to be closer to family and pursue graduate school opportunities. 

He landed an outpatient job in South Carolina with the State Dept of Mental Health and loved it! He was surprised because he’d told himself he would never work in mental health. He worked with the long-acting injectable clinic, primarily for patients living with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. 

Dionta loved interacting with these patients – some were remarkably interesting and smart. He could connect with them and maintain follow-up appointments because they trusted and could relate to him. He grew close with so many patients. 

Dionta continued seeing disparities and wanted to move to the next step. He wanted autonomy and to have a more significant effect on the community. He decided an FNP was the best avenue to pursue and focus on treating people in marginalized communities.

He was accepted to Clemson into their 3-year DNP-FNP Primary Care program. Life has come full circle. Remember when he was 13 and he did the Clemson summer science camp?

Dionta didn’t grow up with money. He is spiritual, and he feels very blessed. NP school is expensive. He is a recipient of the National Health Service Corps Scholarship, which covers tuition for 3 years! Our $5,000 Education Award will help with outstanding loans and miscellaneous expenses. 

Dionta just started his 3rd year. He’s doing well and loves it! He works part-time, weekend shifts, leaving Monday through Friday for clinicals, lectures, and schoolwork. He is excelling and will graduate in May 2025! 

His DNP project is about health policy analysis, which he has become passionate about over the past few years. HIV is high in the Black, gay male community. He’s interested in educating this population about protection, condoms, etc. Access to care can be challenging if you are in a marginalized community. He wants to dispel the stigma and discrimination within the Black community. He feels that the education of providers needs to be improved.

Dionta, you are a delightful, smart, and hard-working young man. We wish you all the best in your education and career. We know you’ll go far in helping your community, colleagues, and patients. Congratulations on being our 2024 $5,000 Education Award Winner!