Pandemic Reveals Deeper Connection for Two North Texas Nurses

Next week is National Nurses Week. Two nurses at Children's Health in Dallas have something to celebrate. The pandemic revealed they are more than just colleagues.

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When Geneva Burnap, Emergency Department Director at Children's Health in Dallas reviewed her staff's time-off requests, one stood out.

"I looked at the list and it had her given name, Monserat Olmos," Burnap said of the COVID leave request submitted by the nurse she knew as "Monse". "I said, oh my gosh, she was my patient!"

In the mid 1990's, Burnap was a new nurse in Children's Gastrointestinal Unit, the place where patients stayed awaiting liver transplants.

"I had a liver transplant whenever I was younger," Monserat Olmos, who goes by "Monse" said. "Just knowing how the nurses treated me, how they cared for my parents, it inspired me to become a nurse."

Olmos and Burnap have been colleagues in the hospital's ER for 18 months, without realizing they've known one another much longer.

Olmos asked for COVID-19 leave because as an organ transplant recipient, she's in a high-risk group. Olmos' full first name on her request made a light bulb turn on in Burnap's brain. She picked up the phone.

"Did you have a liver transplant," Olmos said Burnap asked her. "I said, 'yes,' and she said, 'this is gonna be crazy, but I took care of you as a child when you had your liver transplant!'"

"So Monse and her mother basically lived at the hospital that summer," Burnap said. "I will never forget them."

That was in 1994 when Olmos was a 1-year old. Now, the two are not patient and nurse, but colleagues. "I found it amazing that she would remember me," Olmos said.

"I always wanted my legacy to be able to help people who help children," Burnap said. "She's both."

"It's silly," Olmos said. "I think God works in amazing ways and wanted me to meet Geneva."

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