Monthly Archives: November 2014

Corn Cakes and Customer Care in the DCMC Kitchen

The first thing you notice when you tour Door County Medical Center’s spotless, well-appointed kitchen with food service director Eric VanAlstine is you’re introduced to every single member of the department staff. “I’d like you to meet Lori, she’s been with us for 10 years,” says VanAlstine, “she’s the gatekeeper to this place and it wouldn’t run without her.” Lori laughs and talks about her favorite part of the job. “It’s definitely the people,” she says.

The 24-person kitchen crew keeps things running smoothly, supplying food to 25 hospital patients and 30 nursing home residents. But the bulk of the kitchen’s work is to feed the hundreds of staff and visitors who come through DCMC’s cafeteria each day.

photo copy“I look forward to the salad bar every Thursday,” says Robin Hamm-Jackson of the DCMC Foundation, who often stops in the cafeteria for lunch on the days when the chefs offer fresh salad with cheeses, veggies, meats and homemade dressings. “It’s so affordable and so tasty.”

Chefs offer up freshly made soups, pasta salads, and wholesome entrees. “We’re really all about promoting a healthy lifestyle for our employees and customers,” says VanAlstine. “And of course we like to give people what they want.”

photo 2Last week, that included fresh tuna steaks with Pico de Gallo (diced vegetable salsa). “You just don’t see that kind of food in cafeterias very often,” says VanAlstine, who is a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. “We run this kitchen like a restaurant kitchen, not an institutional one.”

VanAlstine’s commitment to quality is evident in the feedback they receive from patients and customers. Currently, nutritional services boasts 99% customer satisfaction. But that’s never enough for VanAlstine. “We’re always looking at ways to improve,” he says. “And we all contribute ideas though our daily meetings.”

VanAlstine and his team can often be found making rounds and delivering food to patients. “It’s a great opportunity for us to ask patients how they’re enjoying their stay, and to find out if there’s anything we can be doing better.”

Team members are a constant source for creative menu ideas. Here’s one developed by Chef Jason Nimmer. These corn cakes would be equally delicious as a brunch or lunch item served with a tossed green salad, or as a side dish with dinner.

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Jason’s Corn Cakes

  • 2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha (prepared chili sauce, available in grocery stores)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions or green onions
  • 1 teaspoon roasted garlic paste (or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper



Roast corn in 400 degree oven until it begins to turn brown. Remove and cool.

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. (if substituting garlic powder for garlic paste, add garlic powder to the dry ingredients)

Whisk the buttermilk and eggs until smooth. Whisk in Sriracha, mustard, and garlic paste. Stir in corn, peppers, and scallions. Add to dry ingredients and mix well.

Heat a small nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Pat about 1/3 cup mixture into cakes about ½ inch thick. Add to the hot skillet. Turn the cakes when the edges are browned. Cook until both sides are brown.

Serve topped with salsa.

From the Island to the Mainland, Ministry’s Nurse Practitioners Provide Quality Care

Nurse practitioner Barb Heilman takes the ferry to Washington Island each week, where she cares for many of the 700 year-round residents of the close-knit community at Ministry Door County Medical Center’s clinic. Like the other six nurse practitioners at Ministry Door County Medical Center, she works in consultation with physicians and other specialists to serve her patients. But on the island, Heilman and her counterpart, Holly Ullman-Herlache, also provide 24-hour care for residents.

“We’re the island’s urgent care, emergency care and advanced life support,” says Heilman. “We see everything from broken fingers to cardiac emergencies, and everything in between.” But for Heilman, it is building trusting relationships with patients that has yielded the greatest results. “You get to know and care about your patients,” she says, “and for me, that means all of my patients from the newborns to my oldest patient who is over one hundred years of age.”

Barb Heilman, FNP

Barb Heilman, BSN-RN, MSN, FNP-BC

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are professionals equipped with a four-year Registered Nursing degree as well as an advanced graduate degree and rich clinical experience. They can diagnose and prescribe as a physician can, and can specialize in everything from pediatrics to oncology. But the majority of NPs choose primary/family care – nationally, in 2012, 80 percent of NPs chose to specialize in primary care.

“Working in this unique setting, I really believe that being a nurse practitioner is the greatest job in the world. I have the time to spend with my patients, and the expertise to help them feel better. I have great relationships with my patients that are built over time.”

Nurse practitioner Hannah Sutrick, who works in Ministry’s Occupational Health Clinic in Sturgeon Bay, agrees. “As nurse practitioners, we are part of the team. Together, we are able to provide the most optimal patient-centered care.”

To make an appointment with a nurse practitioner, call Ministry Door County Medical Center at (920) 746-0510.


State-of-the-Art Technology Comes to Diagnostic Imaging Department

Ministry Door County Medical Center is only the third hospital in the nation to obtain state-of-the-art CT scanning technology that provides the clearest possible images for doctors to diagnose patients. CT scanners generate images that can be turned into three-dimensional pictures, enabling doctors to diagnose patients with a variety of symptoms such as headache, chest pain and abdominal pain.

CT Picture

“We’re thrilled to have this new technology,” says Amanda Feldbruegge, director of the Diagnostic Imaging department at Ministry. “This new, top-of-the-line scanner is both quicker and more comfortable for the patient, and reduces the radiation dose to the patient as well.”

One of the unique abilities of the new scanner is to eliminate the appearance of metal implants, such as artificial joints, on a scan. “It used to be difficult to obtain images from patients with everything from tooth fillings to hip replacements because the metal caused streaks on the images,” explains Feldbruegge. “This new technology allows us to see everything clearly.”

The CT scanner is just one of seven imaging services offered by Ministry’s Diagnostic Imaging department that provides services ranging from mammography and x-rays to bone density testing, nuclear medicine, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). “We are already using the scanner to offer patients a new, low-dose lung cancer screening exam and our next step is to provide comprehensive cardiac CT testing. We’re looking forward to adding this service for the convenience and care of our local patients.”

American Diabetes Month and Your Health

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. One in 11 Americans has diabetes – that’s more than 29 million people. And another 86 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Ministry Door County Medical Center is committed to leading community programs to prevent diabetes, as well as supporting those who are living with the disease. Ministry offers a unique program called “Living Well with Diabetes” every other month. Topics include setting nutrition goals, heart healthy dining, and understanding and managing diabetes.

Diabetes doing glucose level test. Vegetables in background

For Ministry dietitian Carmen Schroeder, the key to diabetes care is empowering patients to understand the disease and practice good self-care, especially through the foods they eat. “The class we offer is a great way to start the process of ongoing care. With diabetes, it’s all about staying informed and establishing that trusting relationship with your doctor. We’re here to teach, to support and to help diabetes patients begin the journey.”

“The incidence of prediabetes in increasing,” says Schroeder. “But the good news is, by making lifestyle changes in diet and exercise, type 2 diabetes can be prevented.” If you are overweight, have high blood pressure, or are age 45 or older, you are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. “We’re working with more pre-diabetic patients than ever to help them make these changes and prevent this disease.”

Ministry is also working throughout the community to promote healthy lifestyles. “Ministry’s involvement in running events and silent sports, its workplace-based wellness programs, and its support of The Community’s Garden and Food for Health programs are just a few examples of how we’re leading the area in efforts that can help prevent chronic disease such as diabetes,” says Matt Luders, Health & Wellness Executive at Ministry.

The next “Living Well with Diabetes” class begins December 3, 2014. To learn more about the class or to speak with a dietitian, call Ministry North Shore Medical Clinic at (920) 746-0510.