For nearly five decades, Frankie T. Manning has dedicated herself to public service through a nursing career spent in a number of roles within the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, on professional boards, as a faculty member for several academic nursing programs and through her service in the U.S. Army.
She began her career in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as a staff nurse on a medical-surgical ward for African American patients. She has had assignments in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps as head nurse, nursing supervisor, director of quality improvement, Chief Nurse and Director of Education. During her service she was deployed to Saudi Arabia, functioning as special assistant to the commander for the 50th General Hospital and as the special projects officer with emphasis on counseling and guidance of soldiers who were non-deployable. After a 22 year military career span, she retired in 2000, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
At the Department of Veteran Affairs, Frankie made significant contributions in education and clinical practice including expanding access to veterans throughout the Puget Sound region by developing community outreach programs, clinics and mobile medical units. She helped establish veteran health screening clinics at Pike Place Market, Bellingham, Port Angeles, and Friday Harbor. She also developed the VA learning opportunity residency program for nursing students into a nationally-recognized program.
Frankie has consistently developed programs to enhance services to patients and communities. This is reflected in her early work improving services to women veterans. In the early 1970s, prior to the many program initiatives for women veterans, she established basic procedures and procurement of equipment to support women veterans. In the 1980s she chaired and guided the Women Veterans’ Program for Western Region of DVA. The standards of care, policies and procedures including the improvement in clinical guidelines, research and resources still remain in place today.
Frankie’s visionary leadership is characterized in her efforts to provide an intergenerational “Partners Program” linking veterans and junior high and high school students to build mutual support systems. This program has served as the launching mechanism for students to progress into health care with an emphasis on nursing. This collaborative program has served many minority and disadvantaged youth. She was also a co-founder in the early 1970s of the Family Clinic Service for women and children to provide one-stop preventive services in the local minority community.
Frankie was selected as the first nurse to serve on the King County Board of Health in 2003. In 2004, she was appointed by Governor Locke to serve as board member for a three-year term on the Washington State Board of Health. Frankie also served as the State Board of Health representative on the Council from 2006 through 2011. In February 2011, she was appointed to the Governor’s Interagency Council on Health Disparities as a consumer representative. Frankie has also been recognized with numerous awards , including the 2010 March of Dimes Nursing Legend award, and the 2004 American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) Community Partnership Award.
She continues to serve her community through various organizations including WSNA, the King County Nurses Association, and the local chapter of The Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization. Frankie’s continued interest in improving the lives of others is reflected in the many hours of volunteer work she provides to elders, the homeless and to other underserved populations. She has been characterized by her nursing colleagues as a strong leader, visionary nurse, mentor, coach, and guide.