Pharmacy Residency (PGY1)

Mother, children find common bond as Parkland burn nurses

Each has found their ‘calling’ in caring for critically ill

Erin Short’s eyes well up when she talks of the patients she cares for in Parkland Memorial Hospital’s world-renowned Regional Burn Center. “They have their own type of beauty,” says the nurse resident. “And when they begin to find strength, that beauty speaks volumes. They have more confidence than most of us will ever know.”

Erin’s dedication to caring for burn patients comes naturally. In fact, you might say she was “born” to it. That’s because Erin’s mother, Patsy, has been a registered nurse in Parkland’s Burn Center for 37 years. She was pregnant with Erin, now 23, as she cared for some of the hospital’s most critically ill burn patients.

Despite growing up watching her mom go off to work, the thought of becoming a nurse, let alone one in Parkland’s burn unit, never crossed Erin’s mind. It wasn’t until she was at Texas Christian University that her path became clear. Inspired to join the prestigious nursing program at TCU, Erin thought, ‘This is it. This is where my heart is,’” she said. “It truly is a calling, one I love with all my heart and soul.”

Although they were already close as mother and daughter, Erin’s career choice has forged an even tighter bond.

“It gave us a connection both emotionally and spiritually,” Patsy said. “And for both of us, it is so good when a patient comes back to visit. We see them right after they’ve experienced a terrible tragedy and when they come back ….” 

“There are no words to explain what we feel,” Erin says, finishing her mom’s sentence. 

Those sentiments are echoed by Quinnie and Ethan Gloger, a mother and son duo who also are nurses in Parkland’s Burn Center. Becoming a nurse was a second career for Quinnie who spent 20 years in the insurance industry. Bored in retirement, she knew she wanted to be a nurse and pursued her passion. It wasn’t quite that simple for Ethan who held several different jobs before working as a health unit coordinator in the burn unit and then enrolling in nursing school.

With son firmly entrenched in the Burn Intensive Care Unit and mom in the step-down Burn Acute Care Unit, together they have cared for patients ranging in age from 5 weeks to 105 years. 

“Our patients come in on what has to be the worst day of their life,” Ethan said. “And then to have them come back later after they’ve been discharged and let us know how they’re doing…it’s just hard to compare to anything else you’ll experience.”

“Some of our patients may have been here for weeks or months with 50 to 90 percent burns and it will be a long journey,” Quinnie added. “But we’ll see them through and they’ll come back walking and talking. It gives you a sense of pride being a nurse in Parkland’s burn unit.”

Parkland’s burn team has the experience and expertise to treat all types of burns regardless of how severe and complex. For more than 50 years, Parkland’s Burn Center staff has been recognized as leaders in the education of the next generation of healthcare providers and has been an engine of clinical research moving the science of burn care forward.
“That’s what makes it so great to work in the burn unit. We are always advancing, trialing new medications or protocols,” Ethan said. “If it works at Parkland then you know soon it will be put in place elsewhere, just like the ‘Parkland Burn Formula’ has been implemented around the world.”

Parkland was recently re-verified as an adult and pediatric burn center by the American Burn Association and the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons. It is the only verified burn center in the region. The achievement recognizes Parkland’s dedication and commitment to providing high quality burn care to patients. Parkland has been a verified burn center since 1996 and is the only verified burn center in North Texas.

Established in 1962, the Parkland Burn Center is the second largest civilian burn center in the nation, providing care to more than 2,200 patients annually. Serving North Texas and surrounding areas, this comprehensive burn center is one of only 62 verified burn centers in North America and provides all services from emergency treatment to intensive care to rehabilitation and outpatient follow-up care.

Beyond their biological family, the Short’s and Gloger’s say the bond with their Parkland family is immeasurable.

Patsy summed it up saying, “The ‘family’ connection we feel working in Parkland’s burn unit is truly amazing. And when a patient comes to our units, they become a part of our family, too.”

Learn more about the Parkland Burn Center.