Peggy Francis, D.N.P., RN, FNP

Call to care brings Dr. Peggy Francis into the nursing profession

The daughter of a Methodist minister, Peggy Francis, D.N.P., RN, FNP, always knew she would someday enter a caring profession. “Because of my background growing up, I’ve always wanted to make a difference,” she said. “I can’t imagine being any other way.”

She found her calling in the nursing profession after volunteering in a nursing home as a young college student. She has been passionate about the profession ever since.

Quick with inspirational quotes and lessons she’s learned from people she’s met along the way, Dr. Francis said that knowing all the nursing theory in the world won’t make a great nurse. “I believe the art of nursing is caring,” she said as the guest speaker at the 2008 Friends of the School of Nursing Annual Breakfast. “Patients don’t care how much you know if they don’t know how much you care.”

Following this call to service, Dr. Francis has worked in a variety of nursing fields, from neonatal nursing to school nursing. Twelve years ago, after graduating with her master’s degree in nursing and a Family Nurse Practitioner certificate from the UT Health Science Center School of Nursing, she entered the field of obstetrics and gynecology. Three years ago she followed a new path into urologic nursing at Urology San Antonio, a private urology practice.

As director of the practice’s Center for Urinary Control, Dr. Francis helps women with urinary leakage problems. She also is co-director of the Center for Female Sexual Medicine, where she has the delicate task of diagnosing sexual dysfunction, which can at times be a complicated diagnosis, with many factors coming into play. Occasionally, past traumas play a role, such as sexual abuse or rape.

“There is a saying, ‘Sorrow that has no vent in tears will make other organs weep,’” Dr. Francis said. “I think that is a powerful theory for all the major negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, fear, worry, anger and sadness. If you don’t get them out of your body they will come out somewhere. And very often I see them in pelvic floor dysfunction or in painful bladder syndrome.”

Dr. Francis credits her time attending the UT Health Science Center San Antonio for being “an absolute superglue or cementing that I am a nurse through and through. I really did enjoy falling in love with my profession all over again and realizing that I had made the right choice. I met some incredible people,” she said, including former nursing Dean Beverly Robinson and former faculty members Glenda Butnarescu (now deceased), Ed Gruber, Mary Jones and Judy Longworth. “They respected the fact that we [nursing professionals] had been out there working in the trenches and we brought something of value to the table,” she said.

Completing her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in May 2008 calls Dr. Francis to more active leadership in national nurse practitioner organizations. One critical change she plans to promote is flexible scheduling, so that young nurses can raise a family while continuing their career. “This one change would go a long way toward reducing the national nursing shortage,” she said.

“I would like to see nurses take better care of each other and nurture each other,” she said. “I’m not sure yet where I’ll go from here, but I know that I wouldn’t be here without the love, encouragement and support of a lot of people.”

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