Monthly Archives: January 2014

Dr. Nate Hayes at home with his guitar

Walking the Walk: Dr. Nate Hayes

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.

Shoveling snow is one of Dr. Nate's many outdoor pursuits.

Shoveling snow is one of Dr. Nate’s many outdoor pursuits.

“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.”

Dr. Nate snowshoeing on his property in rural Algoma

Dr. Nate snowshoeing on his property in rural Algoma

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.”

Dr. Nate Hayes at home with his guitar

Dr. Nate Hayes at home with his guitar

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.

Santa greets a resident of the Skilled Nursing Facility

Keeping Christmas at DCMC’s Skilled Nursing Facility

Throughout the month of December, packages large and small arrive every day at the Skilled Nursing Facility at Door County Medical Center in Sturgeon Bay. They don’t come by UPS or parcel post, but instead are delivered by a legion of employees who are secret santas to the Skilled Nursing Facility’s residents.

“Our Secret Santa program is a very big deal,” says Judy Sinitz, RN, Director of Nursing. Residents are ‘adopted’ by hospital staff who send them gifts each day for 3-4 weeks in December. Our residents just love it.” Sinitz says that each year, when the call goes out to staff to be matched with residents, the names are snatched up in a matter of hours. “The response is just overwhelming,” she says.

The Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) at Door County Medical Center in Sturgeon Bay has been serving the community for more than forty years as both a long-term care center, and a short term rehab residential facility, but for the residents who live there, it’s simply called home. Throughout the year, activity director Jodi Falk and her staff provide outings, gatherings and enrichment activities to residents, but the holidays bring a special kind of excitement.

As with many holiday traditions, there’s a tried and true method to build the anticipation. “Secret Santa gifts arrive throughout the day,” says Sinitz. “We bring the gift into the dining room and make a big deal out of it, presenting it to the resident. We wax poetic about the gift and have a lot of fun. The residents don’t know who each gift is for until we announce it.” There is a lot of good-natured ribbing and laughter during these presentations. “It’s a very community-minded event,” she adds.

The Secret Santa program culminates with a party, when secret santas reveal their identity to their adopted resident. “It’s quite a festive day,” says Sinitz.

In addition to the Secret Santa program, the SNF hosts an annual holiday party that brings volunteer staff together with residents and their family members for singing, feasting and visiting. “Our diabetic educator, Carmen Schroeder usually plays the piano, and registered dietitian Judi Sowl comes up to lead the caroling. Santa even comes, ringing bells and bringing gifts,” explains Mary Lueck, Nursing Home Administrator.  DCMC’s dietary department supplies homemade cookies and tea, and residents without family members nearby are given gifts by employees. “Everyone gets a gift, always,’ says Lueck.

“Our goal is to make the Skilled Nursing Facility feel like home,” says Sinitz. She tells of a resident who came to live at the SNF, a very active person and a retired nurse. “She realized she needed the facility and accepted that, but had some difficulty giving up her own home. About 3 months into her stay she approached me and said: “When I came to live here I looked around and thought ‘How can I do this?’  Now I look and I don’t see the walls, I see the warmth and the kindness and I know this is the right place to be.”

DCMC’s award-winning Skilled Nursing Facility was recently renovated to provide increased private room offerings for residents. For more information, contact Judy Sinitz at (920) 743-3663.

Let’s Go Algoma! Keeps Community Active Through Winter Months

Ministry Door County Medical Center Sponsors Free Fitness Classes to Foster Wellness


Ministry Door County Medical Center is proud to announce a new initiative that kicks off the New Year in Algoma with free fitness classes for area residents. “Let’s Go Algoma!” offers a variety of choices to help people to stay active throughout the winter months. Ministry is partnering with several local organizations, including Shannon’s Yoga and Fitness, the Algoma Public Schools, the Door County YMCA and Stick to It Fitness, to offer free classes three evenings per week. Options range from Yoga and Zumba to Core Classes and Circuit Training.

“We’ve built great relationships with many people and organizations in Algoma, including presenting free art programs to children in schools, working with local employers to offer wellness education to their employees, and most recently, teaching nearly 50 Algoma kids how to swim during the holiday break,” says Matt Luders, Ministry’s health and wellness executive. Throughout these efforts, Luders heard repeatedly from residents that they wanted more fitness opportunities in their own community. Dr. Nate Hayes, DO, who serves the Algoma community at North Shore Medical Clinic, agrees. “People in Algoma want to stay active, especially during the cold winter months.”

“We are responding to that need by giving residents new, fun and free opportunities for fitness,” says Luders. Classes are appropriate for all levels. Ministry nurses will be on hand during the first and last weeks of class to provide an optional biometric screening, and the first 100 registrants will receive a free wellness gift package.


Classes will run January 20–March 13 for a total of eight weeks. All classes are FREE.

Circuit Class: This aerobic and strengthening class uses various equipment to help jump start your metabolism. 45 minutes

Zumba: Burn calories and tone your entire body with Zumba – a form of dance fitness that features high-energy Latin and international beats. No dance experience necessary. 45 minutes

Yoga: Yoga benefits mind and body, improves mood, increases strength, flexibility and energy and reduces stress. All levels, including novices, are welcome. 60 minutes

X-Fit: A fast paced class that builds strength and conditioning through guided
weight-bearing exercise. 45 minutes

Boot Camp: This fun, high-energy class is for participants of all ability levels. Work out at
various exercise stations, build muscle and get a cardiovascular workout, too. 45 minutes

Ministry nurses will be on hand the first week of class for an optional biometric screening (height, weight, and blood pressure).

For more information, or to register, call (920) 493-5979.