Dr. Nate Hayes’ passion for fitness is contagious. As a primary care physician at Ministry Door County Medical Center’s Algoma clinic, he changes lives by inspiring his patients to improve their lifestyles and their health. “My job is to help people take control of their own health,” he says. “That’s where I got the idea for ‘Walk the Walk’.” Dr. Nate has led the weekly community walking group since his arrival at the Algoma clinic more than a year ago, and the effects have been tremendous.
“One of my patients lost over 50 pounds through lifestyle changes, including regular exercise. He has now become one of the leaders of the walking group, and he’s inspiring other people,” says Dr. Nate.
According to Dr. Nate, many chronic health problems may be due to a lack of physical activity. “I want to cure people of these diseases or prevent them,” he says, “by giving the best care and teaching them how to live a healthy lifestyle.” And he’s succeeding. Several of his patients who had metabolic syndrome, or pre-diabetes, are now healthy due to Dr. Nate’s guidance. “To see my patients make these changes, and then see them inspiring others – that’s really satisfying.”
When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, Dr. Nate practices what he preaches. At his rural home on the outskirts of Algoma, he stays active snowshoeing around his property, shoveling snow, and working out in his indoor gym. He’s also a member of the 30 Plus Basketball league in Sturgeon Bay, where he lived and practiced medicine before moving closer to Algoma. His interests don’t stop there. “I also enjoy drinking coffee, watching movies – I’m a big Star Wars fan – and traveling.” And only a few people know Nate also enjoys playing music. “My dad played guitar, so I picked it up from him. And I’m teaching myself banjo.” When asked if he’ll be playing local open mikes anytime soon, he laughs. “No way. I just play for myself.”
But despite his many interests, the bulk of Dr. Nate’s waking hours are spent doing what he loves most – caring for his patients, who come from Algoma as well as neighboring towns and rural areas.
“There’s a difference between ‘seeing patients’ and giving truly good care. At Ministry, we’re giving truly good care.” Patient Veronica Crane agrees. “When I see Dr. Nate, I feel like he really listens to me. I think things are really changing since he’s been here with the increased focus on being active. He is making a difference.”
Dr. Nate enjoys being part of the community he serves. “People in a small town want stability. They want to know the doctor they trust is going to be there. As part of this community, I’m getting to know my patients’ needs, and I plan to be here for the long haul.” But Nate and his staff are also striving for excellence. “We’re here to prove that even in a small town, we can provide the best care anywhere.”
To make an appointment with Dr. Nate, call Ministry North Shore Medical Clinic in Algoma at (920) 487-3496.