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When South Carolina nephrology nurse Jennifer Cole was homeless – spending a winter living in her 2006 Hyundai Accent – she found comfort listening to the car’s staticky radio, which would broadcast nightly programs about overcoming obstacles, such as substance use disorder and chronic illness. Listening to other people’s stories made Jennifer realize she could still turn her own life around. She picked herself up, found a roommate and enrolled in nursing school, later becoming a nephrology nurse.
It was that roommate, now her husband, who inspired her to find her passion. “He was living a stable life and going back to college and I thought, ‘I can do this too.’” she said. Not only did Jennifer find the strength to save herself, she also discovered a commitment to serving others.
Jennifer is now a Clinical Manager at a Fresenius Kidney Care clinic in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
“I’m in a great place, very happy with my personal life, career and Fresenius Medical Care,” she said. “I’m so grateful to be alive and to have overcome so many things.”
Jennifer finds joy in her work and strives to share it with others by singing, dancing and telling jokes to make her patients smile, volunteering at other clinics and mentoring other clinical managers. She is grateful for her journey and wants others who are struggling to know that their story isn’t over either.
“You just never know what someone’s going through in their mind,” Jennifer said. “My experience has shaped me as a nurse and a person. I have so much more patience and care about everything with my patients – Are you comfortable? Are you warm enough? How’s your family? When you don’t have running water to take a shower, like I did that winter, you take nothing for granted and you appreciate everything.”
For more on the partnership between Fresenius Medical Care North America and the American Nephrology Nurses Association, visit our partnership page.