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Next week the Department of Surgery will say goodbye to Margaret “Muggs” Helin. After 38 years in the nursing field — the last 15 of which she spent as a pediatric surgical nurse practitioner and the lead advanced practice provider for the department — Muggs will trade in 6 a.m. rounds and mountains of paperwork for relaxing with family and embracing her role as a grandmother.

A fresh-from-nursing-school Muggs began her career in 1976 as a night shift urology nurse at the old UW Hospital. A year later she transferred to the operating room, a place that inspired her and offered her years of experience and opportunities. In fact, Muggs was part of the operating room team that performed some of the first heart transplants at UWHC. Mid-career, Muggs went back to school, earning her master’s degree in nursing in 1999. That same year she joined the Department of Surgery.

Muggs’ career in our department has been nothing less than distinguished, excelling as a clinician, leader and teacher. Muggs is highly adept in all aspects of pediatric surgery and nationally known for her expertise with short gut patients. Never one to say “no,” Muggs also managed a host of administrative duties throughout UWHC and the American Family Children’s Hospital; served as a leader and mentor for APPs and nurses throughout UW Health; and was a teacher to countless medical students, residents, and junior faculty. She even left her mark on pediatric surgical nursing at the national level through her leadership in the American Pediatric Surgical Nurses Association and numerous articles and chapter contributions to nursing journals and textbooks.

Thank you, Muggs, for being a mentor, teacher and leader in the Department of Surgery. We all deeply appreciate your commitment and service to our department and our patients. Please join us on Thursday, October 9 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in CSC K4/745 to celebrate and wish Muggs a retirement filled with happiness.


Michael Garren, MD, will serve a three-year term on the SMPH Clinician-Teacher Track Appointments and Promotions Committee starting this fall. Copyright © 2017 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System