Manatee Women Veterans Educate

Linda Lysinger and Frankie Bailey (MTC)The military can help to mold people into effective teachers through opportunities to coach and train others and philosophies such as “see one, do one, teach one” or “each one, teach one.”

Watching a recruit cross over a river on a rope in a “Be All That You Can Be” ad helped persuade MTC Nursing Instructor Frankie Bailey, RN, MSN, CNS, to join the Army when she was 19. Her stepfather is a Navy Veteran, and her grandfather was an Army Veteran, having served during World War II.

Appealing to her adventurous side and offering a way to pay for school, the Army presented the perfect opportunity for Bailey which turned into a 20-year career, focused on nursing.

Bailey attended nursing school at the University of Texas Medical Branch, then received her master’s degree eight years later. Starting out as a Veterinary Technician for four years at Fort Sam Houston, Bailey then moved to Brook Army Medical Center (San Antonio, TX) for six years, one year in Seoul, South Korea (resulting in an Army Commendation Medal), three years at Moncrief Army Hospital (Fort Jackson, SC) and three years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (Bethesda, MD).

Bailey was very deliberate in her Army medical career choice.

“It’s all about choices. I knew this would be something I could use when I got out of the Army,” said Bailey.

One of Bailey’s job experiences was serving as Chief of Hospital Education at Moncrief Army Hospital, a 60-bed military community hospital, where she was responsible for interdisciplinary continuing education programs, grand rounds, hospital orientation, BLS, ACLS, and PALS for over 1,000 administrative and clinical personnel. There she tried to invoke some fun into learning which got her some media attention. 

Retiring in 2011 as a Major, Bailey decided to try teaching when she moved back to Manatee County.

“I always loved teaching. That’s one of the duties as a nurse: You teach your patients,” said Bailey.

Bailey landed an instructor position at MTC in June 2012, where she shares responsibility for the upper-level Practical Nursing program consisting of two full-class iterations each year. She thinks the skills she developed in the Army helped make her a better teacher.

“The military molded me into what I am today, I have no doubt. I’m very rigid, structured, disciplined, loyal. I care about people. I don’t give up,” said Bailey.

Frankie Bailey in full Army GearOne of the lessons she learned in the service which she has carried over into her teaching position is “improvise and overcome.”

“Sometimes out in the field, we had to get creative and think of alternative solutions so I always ask them, ‘how are you going to make it work?’” said Bailey.

Bailey’s supervisor, Linda Lysinger, MSN, the Health Education Coordinator, is also a Veteran, having dedicated a decade to the Air Force.

Lysinger wanted to become a nurse but didn’t know how she might be able to do this financially. Also wanting to travel, she decided to join the Air Force. Hoping to become a medical tech, she was instead assigned to law enforcement in Riverside, CA, where she served as a Military Police Officer.

Lysinger was stationed at March Air Reserve Base, was a reservist at Norton Air Force base, then moved to Washington State as a MedVac nurse.

After receiving both an LPN (Riverside Community College) and Bachelors (California State), Lysinger was commissioned as an Air Force Officer. Later, through the IMA (Individual Mobilization Augmentee) Program, she was finally able to select a medical job.

After 15 years of bedside nursing, Lysinger went back to school to receive her masters and taught nursing after retiring from the Air Force.

About a year ago she joined MTC.

“I love it here. It is a small group. Everyone helps each other which is similar to the Air Force where camaraderie is so big. It’s all about the team,” said Lysinger.

Besides helping Lysinger to value teamwork, she believes it also helped her broaden her knowledge about other cultures through opportunities to meet people from all different backgrounds.

“Being in the Air Force helps you communicate better and learn different viewpoints. My eyes were opened to different viewpoints that you don’t understand as a kid,” said Lysinger.

Although the Air Force put a lot of physical demands on her, Lysinger does miss it, except for the combat boots.

“It was a lot of physical activity. I was always the flagbearer which made running in cadence in your combat boots a little more challenging,” said Lysinger.

While her Air Force friends are scattered all over the U.S., Lysinger is able to still reminisce by attending the annual air show at MacDill Air Force Base.

Appreciating the Little Things

Rowlett Academy Jamie Irwin With Teaching TeamRowlett Academy teacher Jamie Irwin also transferred her military skills, gained through four years as an Army Medic Specialist/EMT, in Germany, Kosovo and West Point, into a teaching career. Irwin’s medical skills included triaging and caring for soldiers, providing medical treatments while deployed and assisting in the Emergency Room, Same-Day Surgery, Internal Medicine and Family Medicine departments.

For the past 12 years, Irwin has served alongside Zoli Miller as the co-teaching unit of Rowlett Academy’s Kindergarten/First Grade.

Irwin’s collaboration skills have helped her and Miller, who hold master’s degrees in Education and Reading, respectively, to plan lessons together along with their team and switch subject areas to bring their students a more robust curriculum.

“We definitely complement each other and couldn’t imagine doing anything other than co-teaching together. We feel that we’re able to reach and support all our students effectively because of this teaching model,” said Irwin.

Irwin moved back to Bradenton, wanting to be close to her family for support, after losing her first husband in Iraq. While she had entered nursing school in Colorado where her husband had been stationed after separating from the Army, Irwin decided to pursue an Education degree, which was her first choice as a career.

“I’ve learned that life truly is too short not to pursue your passion. I’ve realized that going through hard times makes you stronger than you ever thought you could be. That’s what keeps me striving to be better every day,” said Irwin.

Irwin has since remarried and has two children: Zac, an Eleventh Grader at Lakewood Ranch High, and Zoey, a Fourth Grader at Rowlett.

For Irwin, the best part of being in the military was the camaraderie shared with those who went through the same situations and sacrifices. Her father served in the military, and she always felt that it was an honorable thing to do.

Jamie Irwin With Current Class“Being in the service, you have no control of where you’ll be. There are many sacrifices that come along with that. I definitely think being in the Army has taught me to be the person I am today. I appreciate the little things in life a little more,” said Irwin.

Now Irwin has a lot of "littles" in her daily life as a teacher.

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