Two-time Kent State University College of Nursing alumna Wendy L. Sarver, Ph.D. ’19, MSN ’13, RN, NEA-BC, has worked for more than ten years in the MetroHealth Department of Nursing Research where she is currently the Director of Nursing Research. Her role oversees all the nursing research at the organization and serves as a mentor to staff nurses working on research studies

Today Dr. Sarver is joining us to share her experiences as a Kent State University College of Nursing doctoral student.

Q: We appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with us today, Dr. Sarver. To kick things off, why did you want to pursue your Ph.D. in Nursing?

A: It’s a pleasure to join you today. When I first came to Kent State University College of Nursing for my Master’s in Nursing degree, I was fairly new to research. As I continued on, I discovered how important it was for me to complete my Ph.D. in order to reach the career goals I had set for myself. I was interested in furthering my career, further fueling my strong interest in research and completing my terminal degree for personal fulfillment.

Q: What made Kent State’s Ph.D. program more desirable than other schools?

A: My boss and mentor at the time had attended Kent State University for her master’s and Ph.D. and she told me about the program. I was looking for something that was still a ‘bricks and mortar’ experience with a good reputation but allowed some flexibility as I lived over an hour away, worked and had two small children at home.

I desired a program that would give me a great education all while fitting into my work and home life. I ended up going through the program with two coworkers, which was a tremendous help and support.

Q: How did you manage both working and being a Kent State doctoral student?

A:  While I was a doctoral student, my children were not quite 2 and 5 years old yet. I was still working, and my husband was traveling. While it was challenging at times, I had a great support system that included a great boss who believed strongly in me furthering my education. Their support ignited a strong desire within me to push through and finish the program.

I always tell people the ‘P’ in Ph.D. stands for persistence. As I mentioned previously, having two coworkers go through the program with me, along with my boss/mentor who finished the program a few years prior, in addition to family and friends who knew I was knee deep in my studies, be my cheerleaders when I thought I wouldn’t be able to manage everything meant the world to me.   

Q: What did you most enjoy about your Ph.D.  program?

A: Meeting the other students and becoming part of a group of doctorally prepared nurses who enjoy research as much as I do.

Q: How have you applied the lessons you learned in the Ph.D. program to your nursing career?

A: A big takeaway from being a doctoral student was learning to go outside of my usual comfort zone in areas such as networking, reaching out to individuals for advice and making new contacts for future studies.  

Q: What advice do you have for other nurses considering getting their Ph.D. in Nursing?

A: It’s not always easy, but it is doable. Don’t procrastinate with any assignments.

Q: Dr. Sarver, it has been lovely speaking with you today. Thank you, again, for sharing your experience with us. Before we close out, is there anything else you would like to share about your Kent State doctoral student experience?

A: I’ve enjoyed speaking with you as well. I’ll leave you with this thought. Completing my doctorate wasn’t easy, but I am so glad I did it! I am very appreciative of the support and community I found at Kent State College of Nursing.

Learn more:

To learn more about Kent State University College of Nursing’s Ph.D. in Nursing program, visit