Meet Mary Franks, MSN, APRN-FPA, FNP-C

10 Questions with NetCE's Nurse Expert & Lead Nurse Planner, Mary Franks

We are excited to introduce Mary Franks, a distinguished nurse practitioner whose expertise and insights will be a cornerstone of our content. 

As the lead nurse planner of NetCE, Mary is a nurse practitioner by trade while currently working in a float role in urgent care. She also has an MSN in Nursing Education and teaches as adjunct faculty for the MSN FNP program at Bradley University. We’ve asked her 10 questions related to her expertise and future vision for our blog.

Background and Expertise

1. Can you tell us about your background and experience in the nursing field?

I started my nursing career as a certified nursing assistant in skilled nursing in 2005. From there, I moved to the emergency department at a patient care technician. I completed my registered nurse program in 2010 and transitioned from patient care tech to registered nurse/trauma in the emergency department. I’ve had experience in CVICU and surgical services. I graduated with my Master's of Science and Nursing-Educator in 2017 from Chamberlain University, then completed the MSN-FNP program in 2019. As a family nurse practitioner, I have worked in skilled care settings, school-based health, family practice, and urgent care. 

2. What inspired you to pursue a career in nursing?

I will say this is cliche, however, my mother inspired me to be a nurse. She became very ill when I was 12, spending months in the ICU, having multiple surgeries, to be diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I was inspired by the care she received in the hospital at the University of Iowa, along with the care received by home health nurses. It was so scary to see the woman I looked up to in such a critical situation and helpless, hooked up to a ventilator, multiple IV lines, and incision sites.  To have the staff support her and our family the way they did, inspired me and reminded me it will be okay. 

3. What areas of nursing do you specialize in, and what drew you to those specialties?

I guess you could say I'm a true “Adrenaline junky.” I love being busy (and sometimes I'm too busy for my own good). The emergency department is my “great white buffalo.” It will always have a special place in my heart despite not working there currently. It’s where I started as a nurse, and gained confidence, experience, and colleagues that I’ll forever be in debt to because of the knowledge they passed on to me. I became burned out in the ER, just going through the motions. I felt I’d reached a point in my career that I only enjoyed certain aspects of in the ER, so I moved to CVICU. It was a completely different world. Again, I learned so many things there; hings I never understood working in the ER.  

As a nurse practitioner, primary care in skilled nursing facilities was my first role. It is definitely an eye-opening experience compared to bedside nursing. The complex patients truly tested my knowledge and skillset. School-based health was something I didn’t know existed. It was in a low socioeconomic area, and I really enjoyed working with the under-served populations.. The school-based programs really helped  keep students in school and provided healthcare options readily available to them. Currently with urgent care, there are still fast-paced days like the ER, which allows for the use of critical thinking skills as well as more family-friendly hours. 

Contributions to the Blog

4. What topics do you plan to cover, and why do you think these are important for nurses?

I’d love to cover topics that are not typical of daily practice. While nurses love to learn about processes, nurses also need to know the non-typical topics. For example, nursing litigation isn’t a topic that is discussed often, but it is certainly something that needs attention and awareness. Career guides, how to change careers, or even online education are other areas I’d like to cover.

5. How do you stay current with the latest trends, research, and developments in nursing?

While I work full-time for NetCE, I do work one day a week in the urgent care setting. This allows me to keep up with skills hands on. I also listen to podcasts such as Curbsiders, and utilize my NetCE and TRC Healthcare resources, such as the Prescriber Insights to stay up-to-date on pharmacological items. I do enjoy taking skills courses, as well. 

6. What motivates you to write and share your knowledge with fellow nurses?

I love teaching. I am an adjunct faculty for a local university in the MSN-FNP program. I love providing resources that I have used in practice to my students and fellow colleagues, and I enjoy collaborating on new topics I’ve written. Nursing is a never-ending learning journey. 

Achievements & Goals

7. Can you share a significant accomplishment or highlight from your nursing career?

My biggest accomplishment in my career is becoming a nurse practitioner. I knew I wanted to help more than what I could provide in bedside nursing, especially preventative aspects. I didn’t tell anyone I was taking my boards. I FaceTimed my husband while he was 3000 miles away with my result. To make the day I passed my boards even more special, I took my board exam at the same college I graduated with my ADN, and the same test proctor was still there. 

8. What do you hope readers will take away from your blogs?

I hope readers will take away the big picture from my blogs and feel I give them a different aspect or outlook on a topic. Nothing is always black and white. Sometimes there are multiple ways of going about a task or situation. Studies show that many educational opportunities are best with micro-learning of 10 minutes or less. Blogs are great for micro-learning as I find =they provide   short bursts of education that you likely won’t find with other online or evidence-based resources.

Future State of Nursing

9. How do you see the field of nursing evolving in the next five years?

Nursing is, as I said,  constantly evolving and a never-ending learning journey. I can see bedside practice moving to more advanced practice with more responsibility, especially with patient education. I can also see simulations becoming more widely used to provide enhanced educational and training opportunities. 

10. What role do you think  NetCE plays in supporting and advancing the nursing profession?

I personally feel NetCE  plays a pivotal role in expanding the knowledge and education to nurses. Patient advocacy is an important piece of healthcare to me.Nurses across the spectrum (from student to retired) can utilize these resources to stay current on trends that promote safe practices for patients. 


Thank you, Mary, for sharing your valuable insights and experiences with us. We look forward to collaborating with you on more content to support and inspire the nursing community.

Check out Mary’s first blog post, part one of a two-part series on avoiding nursing litigation. 

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