It may be hard to believe in these unpredictable times but some people, like Margaret Kluin, haven't missed a day of work in years.

For the last 15 years, Margaret, a nurse manager in the orthopedic surgery department at Ocean University Medical Center in Brick, New Jersey has shown up on time for - every shift - despite whatever may have been going on in her private life.

“None of my colleagues knew but I have been suffering with complications of medical issues for the past few years,” explains Margaret who chose to remain silent regarding her health battles even when she was told she was approaching Stage 5 kidney failure and she may face dialysis in the near future. "Having diabetes led to kidney disease which was progressively getting worse,” says Margaret, whose nephrologist suggested she be evaluated for the waitlist for kidney transplant. “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” says Margaret. 

The mother of two daughters says none of her 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 Hackensack University Medical Center, her sister hospital, in Hackensack, New Jersey.  

“I know that Hackensack has a very robust kidney transplantation program but still, 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 at Hackensack 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,” jokes Margaret. 

“Hackensack University Medical Center’s Kidney Transplant Program is among the fastest-growing in the nation,” says Michael J. Goldstein, M.D., FACS, director of Organ Transplantation, director of kidney & pancreas transplantation, Division of Organ Transplantation, Hackensack University Medical Center. “Patients, like Margaret, who come to Hackensack for kidney transplantation have much shorter waiting times to receive a deceased donor kidney than other centers in the tri-state area due to our vast surgical experience, aggressive clinical style, and our use of the Ex Vivo Hypothermic Machine Preservation technology which increases a kidney’s viability and lifespan.”

Margaret, who was at work at the time that she received the news that Hackensack 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, 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 a very successful kidney transplantation. 

“I’m so grateful to Dr. Goldstein and the entire transplant team for restoring my quality of life,” says Margaret. “I’m a pretty private person but I want everyone, in a similar health situation, to know about the type of care Hackensack University Medical Center has to offer.”

Margaret says she’s looking forward to a full and speedy recovery so she can get 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!