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Nurse of the Week Margaret Kluin, RN is not the sort to take time off lightly; in fact, until very recently she hadn’t missed a day of work in 15 years.

Despite suffering from diabetes and later, kidney disease as well, Margaret, a nurse manager in the orthopedic surgery department at Ocean University Medical Center in Brick, New Jersey steadfastly shunned sick days and showed up on time for every single shift regardless of whatever might have been happening in her private life.

In a way, it seems like she waited until she had an unarguable reason to use those days. “None of my colleagues knew, but I have been suffering from complications of medical issues for the past few years,” she reveals. Margaret chose to remain silent regarding her health battles even when she was told she was approaching Stage 5 kidney failure (and may face dialysis in the near future). “Having diabetes led to kidney disease which was progressively getting worse,” she says. Eventually, Margaret’s nephrologist suggested she be evaluated for the waitlist for a kidney transplant. The nurse manager notes, “Dialysis can be very time-consuming, it’s three days a week, three hours at a time.  It really impacts one’s quality of life.”

Neither of her two daughters nor any other family members, including her husband, were the right blood and tissue match so Margaret put her name on the list for a kidney donation at her sister hospital, Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.

“I was expecting to be on the waitlist until the distant future,” says Margaret who was shocked when she received the call from the transplantation team that they had a kidney for her within such a short period of time. “I thought it was a telemarketer calling me, I almost didn’t pick up,” she jokes.

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Margaret, who was at work when she received the news that they had a kidney for her, couldn’t be more grateful to the deceased donor and his family. “I don’t know much about him other than he was in his mid-fifties and obviously, an altruistic man,” she says.

It was hard for her, however, as “the nurse who never missed a day of work in 15 years” to not only tell her director she would have to depart in the middle of her shift that day – but that she would be on medical leave for several months following the transplantation.

“Obviously, I had her full support but still it was difficult for me to leave my patients to go be a patient,” says Margaret who is now recovering at home after her successful kidney transplantation.

“I’m so grateful to (surgeon) Dr. Goldstein and the entire transplant team for restoring my quality of life,” says Margaret. She’s looking forward to getting back to work with her patients and team for one reason – because she loves her job. “That’s why I never missed a day of work until now, because it’s where I want to be and I can’t wait to get back.”

Happy National Nurses Week Margaret, and all the best for a speedy recovery!


Daily Nurse Staff
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