How the Pandemic is Highlighting the Value of Nurses in Healthcare Settings - Kent State University Master’s Degrees in Nursing Specialties

nurses with masks and hairnets look at camera, one in the forefront in focus

Kent State University College of Nursing Interim Dean Denice Sheehan knows that healthcare is more in demand than ever.

Dean Sheehan said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the value of nurses in the healthcare setting. They serve on the front lines, caring for both physical and human issues. We have seen nurses step up to provide excellent care to patients and their families while supporting each other. Our faculty continue to practice in clinical settings, serving as exceptional role models for our students.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), healthcare jobs are projected to grow 15% between 2018 and 2028. That’s three times the average growth rate for all other occupations.

Dean Sheehan continues to say:

“As one of the most competitive degree programs on the Kent State University campus, we attract highly qualified students who become leaders in transforming the profession of nursing. With an average undergraduate student-to-faculty clinical ratio of 8:1, our nursing students experience individualized attention while enjoying the benefits of a large research institution with expert faculty.

Our undergraduate and graduate students study and work in a variety of clinical environments, from small community-based clinics to large, world-renowned hospitals. Also, our state-of-the-art simulation lab is an integral component of our curriculum, providing a safe environment for students to practice their clinical skills.”

Celebrating Kent State’s more than 50-year history as an institution providing exceptional nursing education in Northeast Ohio, the College of Nursing is positioned to meet the growing demands of healthcare worldwide.

Learn more about Kent State University’s Master of Science degree and concentrations below.

Kent State University Master of Science in Nursing

Kent State’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program prepares registered nurses for roles in advanced practice, education, and health care administration.

The program is offered for both full-time and part-time students; offering the flexibility to work while in the program. Full-time students can complete the program in four to five semesters or two full academic years. Part-time students can complete the program in three to four years. Kent State’s MSN is also accredited by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education.

For more information on Kent State’s Online Master of Science in Nursing and all available concentrations, visit

Graduates of the MSN will be able to: Acquire educational eligibility to meet standards for advanced practice certification or other advanced professional distinction. Acquire competencies based on professional standards to assume advanced roles in nursing and for leadership and career advancement, including doctoral study. Communicate, integrate and apply advanced nursing knowledge and skills to provide evidence-based, culturally sensitive nursing care and promote quality outcomes in nursing and health care.

MSN 100% Online Concentrations:

Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGCNS)
Clinical Nurse Specialists play an essential role in healthcare settings. They advocate for patients and their families, lead interdisciplinary healthcare teams to promote patient and organizational outcomes, and influence policy both within their organizations and the healthcare system.

Kent State’s Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGCNS) program will prepare you for a unique, multi-faceted role in advanced nursing practice.

Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) play an essential role in healthcare. Similar to their Nurse Practitioner (NP) colleagues, many CNSs provide specialized advanced nursing care. However, CNSs also work behind-the-scenes to ensure that patients in their units and across their organizations are receiving the highest quality care.

Every CNSs’ responsibilities are unique. When they are not providing care, the CNS may be found advocating for patients and their families, leading interdisciplinary healthcare teams to promote patient and organizational outcomes, teaching and consulting nurses, conducting nursing research, and/or influencing policy both within their organization and across the healthcare system.

As the population in this country grows older, CNSs who have an adult and gerontological population-focus are increasingly called upon for their distinctive expertise in applying evidence-based practice guidelines and addressing skyrocketing health care costs.

In the CNS program, you will develop the necessary competencies to practice as a CNS for patients spanning the entire adult to older-adult spectrum. These include direct care, consultation, systems leadership, collaboration, coaching, research, ethical decision-making, moral agency, and advocacy.

Class and clinical experiences focus on providing advanced nursing care across the health continuum, from wellness to acute care. The Adult-Gerontology CNS program curriculum is verified by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses for the Acute Care CNS-Adult-Gerontological certification.

Nurse Educator
Kent State’s 100% online Nurse Educator program will prepare you to teach, mentor, and develop both nursing students and practicing nurses.

This concentration gives students advanced nursing knowledge in curriculum development, instruction, and evaluation for traditional and online learning in both academic and staff development settings. Emphasis is placed on the application of educational theories and principles in curriculum development.

There has never been a greater need for nurse educators. Currently, a nationwide shortage of nursing faculty is compounding the overall nursing shortage. Employment opportunities are available to graduates in academic settings, as well as the practice setting in areas such as professional staff development.

Nursing Administration and Health Systems Leadership
The 100% online Nursing Administration & Health Systems Leadership concentration integrates management and nursing knowledge for students to develop skills and competencies in management, health care leadership, and advanced nursing.

In this concentration, students are exposed to a holistic approach to leadership and management. Courses cover essential managerial/executive competencies, with a unique emphasis on health care policy and the legal and regulatory issues facing the healthcare leader.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Coming Soon to Online!)
Kent State’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner master’s concentration will prepare you to provide advanced psychiatric nursing care to individuals, families, and groups across the lifespan.

Today, many Americans do not have access to mental health services, in part due to a lack of qualified mental health professionals. Nurses who become Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs) help bridge this gap and provide holistic care to those who are struggling with mental illnesses and addictions.

The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration builds on core advanced practice nursing knowledge and focuses on knowledge and skill development in mental health assessment and diagnostic reasoning, prescribing and medication management, and advanced therapeutic modalities such as individual, group, and family psychotherapy.

In this role, you may be employed in a variety of settings, including community mental health centers, private practice, primary care, emergency settings, correctional facilities, and on consultation/liaison teams in hospitals.

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
Kent State’s Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (NP) program will prepare you to provide the highest level of primary nursing care for women involving health promotion and disease prevention.

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) students gain competency in the advanced nursing management of common acute and chronic conditions.

You will learn how to practice directly or in collaboration with other health professionals to provide continuity of health care and to maximize the effectiveness of community and health care system services. You will also learn clinical judgment and primary care skills through faculty mentorship and clinical preceptors in a variety of ambulatory care settings and specialty clinics.

In this role, you may be employed in medical centers, physician’s offices, free clinics, Planned Parenthood clinics, administration, and education.

For more information on Kent State’s Online Master of Science in Nursing and all available concentrations, visit

Dual Degree with M.B.A. degree in Business Administration

Kent State University offers a dual MSN/MBS degree, in partnership with the top-ranked Kent State University College of Business Administration, to prepare students to assume mid-and upper-level positions in various healthcare settings. The dual degree combines the strengths of advanced nursing preparation with the practical management knowledge needed to develop significant leadership capabilities.

Learn more about the MSN/MBA dual degree by visiting

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Dr. Astrid N. Sambolín Morales is an Assistant Professor in Kent State Online’s 100% Online Master of Education degree in Cultural Foundations. She received her PhD in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity from the University of Colorado Boulder and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research provides a more nuanced picture of the agency, resistance, and empowerment enacted by displaced Puerto Rican m(others) in the U.S., and her work was funded by several grants, including the University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center, the BUENO Center for Multicultural Education, the URBAN Research Network, and the NAEd Spencer Foundation.