Lieutenant Commander Michael Bonislawski of the United States
Public Health Service Corps (USPHS) is an active duty medical officer
under the direction of the U.S. Surgeon General. He is routinely deployed
for emergency disasters around the world. Currently he is stationed with
the Federal Bureau of Prisons as the North East regional nurse consultant,
where he assists the chief nurse in overseeing all nursing programs, policy
and training for 17 institutions and around 350 nurses.
In 2014, Michael was deployed to Nogales, Ariz., where many children
were held by our border patrol after illegally crossing into our country.
Michael remarks, “This was a very emotional deployment for me. As a
father of four children, it is difficult to try and comprehend that things
could be so bad that one would blindly send their children on a train in
hopes that they would have a better opportunity in the United States.”
Working with the U.S. border patrol, the USPHS performed health
screenings, offered medical treatment and vaccinated many minors.
In 2015, Michael was deployed to Monrovia, Liberia, for 72 days to
work at a 25-bed Ebola treatment facility. There he and his fellow officers
educated the local tribes about the virus and treated those afflicted with it.
He explains, “Many medical providers in Africa left the hospital and
clinics afraid of contracting this horrible virus. The existence of our
medical center gave them the courage to return to local villages and
continue to treat and prevent the spread of Ebola.”
More recently, Michael was selected as the medical services director
and chief nurse officer for a mission to Louisiana in response to this year’s
flooding. There he staffed, managed and maintained operations of a 250-
bed federal medical station, which provided care for dialysis patients,
wound care, and general medical treatment for those affected by the
flooding in the Baton Rouge area.
“Helping individuals who lost everything was truly a humbling
experience,” he says.
Michael is convinced his liberal arts education at Lycoming College was
instrumental in his journey: “My education at Lycoming College prepared
me to be the best I could be in life as well as in my professional career as a
nurse. A liberal arts education provided me with the essential knowledge
and skill that I currently use as an active duty serviceman. The use of
critical thinking and problem-solving skills are extremely important tools
to have as a nurse, leader and serviceman.”
Michael recently earned a master’s in health administration, graduating
summa cum laude, and was promoted to commander (O-5), which took
effect December 1st.
Above all, we find in LCDR Michael Bonislawski a life that matters—
and a reminder that such a life is possible. Far from causing us to be
discouraged, Michael’s journey can inspire us with the hope and courage
we need to pursue fullness of life.
Helping individuals who
lost everything was truly
a humbling experience
F E AT U R E