Brenda McFarlin, a nurse practitioner with Bradshaw Health, said her favorite part of her career is caring for others and their needs.

McFarlin was born and raised in Lebanon. She graduated from Lebanon High School and earned a bachelor of science in nursing from Cumberland University and a master’s degree in nursing from Vanderbilt University.

McFarlin enjoys reading and being with her family. She and her husband of 37 years, Gary, have three children: Courtney, 36; Paige, 32; and Jackson, 26. They are also grandparents of seven ranging in age from 10 months to 9 years old.

McFarlin said her mother, Bettye Swaffer Manning, is a woman she admires. 

“She was a southern lady who raised three children mostly on her own. She cared for us daily, took us to church and taught us what was right and wrong,” she explained. “She said to me, ‘Get your education. Knowledge is something nobody can ever take away from you.’ ”

Another lady who made a lasting impact on McFarlin was her friend and personal mentor, Dona Elrod. She called Elrod a person who she could reach out to for “an encouraging word and advice while I was pursing my career, raising children and now grand-parenting.”

Frankie Hall, who served as the administrator for nursing at University Medical Center from 1992 to 2005, is another mentor.

“Frankie made it possible for me to attend classes at Cumberland and Vanderbilt while continuing my nursing career at (then) UMC,” McFarlin said. “She had many famous words, but this statement changed my life: ‘You will be 41 years old with or without a master’s degree – it is your choice.’ ”

To nominate someone for the Woman of Wilson feature, contact Sabrina Knowles at

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