|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1951-1954, 1960-1983|
|Commands held||Director of the United States Navy Nurse Corps, Naval Health Sciences Education and Training Command|
Shea joined the Navy Nurse Corps in 1951 and stayed in the Reserves when she left active duty in 1954. She earned a master of science degree in nursing service administration from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois in 1960, and returned to active duty. Billets of increasing responsibility included a stint as operating room supervisor in hospital ship USS Repose off Vietnam in 1968. Shea became director of the Navy Nurse Corps in 1979, and became the first director to add additional concurrent billets to that duty, including commanding officer of Naval Health Sciences Education and Training Command, and deputy commander for Personnel Management, Naval Medical Command.
One of her closest friends and a retired Navy nurse, Ellen Citrano, of San Diego has stated that Frances was first female admiral in the U.S. Navy.
- Sterner, Doris M. (1997). In and Out of Harm's Way: A history of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. Seattle, WA: Peanut Butter Publishing. ISBN 0-89716-706-6.
- Godson, Susan H. (2001). Serving Proudly: A history of Women in the U.S. Navy. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-317-6.
- Nurses and the U.S. Navy -- Overview and Special Image Selection Naval Historical Center
|Director, Navy Nurse Corps
Mary Joan Nielubowicz