Monthly Archives: March 2016

It Takes a Team: Gerald Worrick and the Culture of Collaboration

Gerald Worrick believes that team building is the best way to adapt to the massive changes happening in health care. In the 28 years he has been president and CEO of Ministry Door County Medical Center, he has seen health care change from an inpatient model to an outpatient model, with recent emphasis on primary care and prevention.

In 2010, Worrick’s decision to build a new two-story inpatient tower transitioned inpatient care in Door County to a private yet family-centered environment. The creation of North Shore Medical Clinic, which operates in five locations and is staffed by primary care providers and specialists, was also one of many accomplishments during his tenure.


These results are bringing awards. In 2015, MDCMC was recognized as one of the top 50 Critical Access Hospitals in the United States, and one of the top 100 for five years running. Becker’s Hospital Review recently named Gerald Worrick one of the 50 Rural Hospital CEO’s to know nationwide, one of only three in Wisconsin. Worrick attributes these honors to his team of employees at the hospital.

Worrick’s leadership style is to surround himself with the best and brightest in the field. “I can’t take the credit. We’re being recognized because of the people I surround myself with.”

Worrick builds his team with those who, in his words, “make up for my shortcomings.” A self-proclaimed big picture guy, he seeks team members who are creative, but also detail-oriented. He enjoys inspiring others with new information and ideas, and then empowering them to lead their own teams and projects.

“I get my best ideas in the shower, and also from my wife – she’s my secret weapon,” laughs Worrick. “But the really great, creative ideas come from my team. For example, Jody Boes, chief nursing officer, is developing a new idea right now for ‘nursing in the field,’ providing post-discharge home visits for older patients. It’s innovative, it’s responsive to patients’ needs, and it’s in keeping with who we are as a hospital, providing high quality care, close to home.”

Worrick travels often to attend conferences and bring back new ideas to the hospital. One of his strongest legacies is the creation of MDCMC’s “Journey to Excellence,” a quality management tool that empowers employees to create change, and charges leaders with the responsibility of regular “rounding” to visit employees, communicating constantly about successes and areas of challenge in the organization.

For Worrick, rounding is nothing new – he has been managing by walkabout visits with employees for decades. “Jerry is a true leader, and keeps his finger on the pulse of the organization by constant communication with his team,” says Kevin Grohskopf, chief business development officer. “Above all, he keeps the hospital’s values of caring for the community top of mind in everything he does.”

Veronica Behme: Seeing Patients Through

You might think Veronica Behme spent her whole career preparing for her position as orthopedic care coordinator at Ministry Door County Medical Center. In her role, she uses her professional background that includes teaching in the Milwaukee Public Schools, working in outpatient mental health as a therapist/social worker, and caring for patients as an RN in an inpatient surgical unit.

All of this training helps Veronica ensure patient care in Ministry’s Bone and Joint Center is seamless. Veronica and the orthopedic team including surgeons Dr. Steve Davis and Dr. Dan Tomaszewski, meet the needs of joint replacement patients from their initial visit, through surgery, rehab and and recovery. In addition to overseeing the process, Veronica has one-on-one contact with each patient who undergoes surgery. “I love working directly with patients and seeing them through their journey,” she says. “It’s fulfilling to see how our team helps restore patients to being able to enjoy life and do what they love.”

20151007_VeronicaBehmeBehme was instrumental in creating the orthopedic care program, working with her colleagues and guided by experts from the Marshall Steel program. “We took about a year to create a program that guides the whole process, from start to finish. We look at the patient not only medically, but also within their family context. What supports do they have at home? Who is going to be participating in the patient’s care? We help bring together those resources to make sure the patient will be successful.”

The patient experience is enhanced by thorough patient education and navigation through the surgical process.  Teaching begins in the pre-operative class that helps patients understand what to expect during surgery and rehab, and continues to inpatient group rehab classes which include the patient and their coach. The coach is a family member or close friend who who helps support the patient through recovery.

Guiding the patient through what can be a complex web of services is key. “Joint replacement patients are seen in almost every department in our facility: clinic, lab, radiology, inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, surgery and the medical surgical unit in our hospital.  Helping the patient navigate across all those settings and making that process simple and seamless for the patient is the goal.”

As with any aspect of health care, in the end, it’s all about compassion. “People wouldn’t be seeking joint replacement if they weren’t in pain. We’re here for them every step of the way, to teach, guide and reassure. Seeing how well our patients do post-operatively and knowing our program outcomes are some of the very best in the nation is very rewarding for all of us.”

DCMC’s Skilled Nursing Facility: Award-Winning Care, Close to Home

Richard Woldt of Sturgeon Bay says the care his 96-year-old mother receives at the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) at Door County Medical Center “feels like family.” After being injured in a fall, Woldt’s mother required expert care. “My family and I couldn’t be more pleased with the care that mom has received,” says Woldt. “And since the SNF is in the same building as the hospital, she has immediate access to all the doctors, nurses and physical therapists who are helping her.”

He also touts the home-like environment. “The staff went out of their way to provide mom’s favorite breakfast cereals, so she’d feel at home. The Rehab and nursing staff approach her like she was their own family. And the activities keep her engaged. There are even two resident cats and a bird.”

Help with walking

Patients and their families aren’t the only ones singing the praises of DCMC’s Skilled Nursing Facility. Recently, the annual State of WI nursing home survey found the SNF to be deficiency-free. “The survey is an intensive, three-day assessment where state evaluators directly observe our facility, perform chart reviews, and make sure we are adhering to all state and federal regulations,” says Judy Sinitz, RN, director of nursing at the SNF.

During the staff’s meeting with evaluators, it came time to discuss deficiencies. “There were none, “says Nancy Bohrman, nursing home administrator. Instead, evaluators took the opportunity to compliment staff on the culture of caring they observed, noting the high level of personal interactions between staff and residents. “One evaluator said she was moved to tears by reading an account of one patients’ needs and follow-up care in her chart.”

DCMC’s SNF also has a five-star rating in all areas on Nursing Home Compare,  Medicare’s website that rates facilities for staffing and quality of care. Ministry’s SNF is the only facility within 100 miles to achieve such a rating. “It comes down to the dedication and commitment of our staff. Our primary focus is the residents,” says Sinitz.

Sinitz notes that her staff go above and beyond the state’s professional development requirements, pursing education in areas such as Alzheimer’s Care, cognitive stimulation and wound care. “For example, one of our young nurses received training in the Music and Memory program, and is bringing this wonderful approach to cognitive stimulation to our residents.”

For Richard Woldt, the ultimate recommendation comes from his mother. “She says she feels safe and loved here. She wants to be here. She doesn’t want to leave.”

Simple Tips for Healthy Sleep

Dr. Andrzej Kurek, family medicine and sleep medicine doctor at DCMC, knows a good night’s sleep is one of the keys to good health. “So much happens when we sleep: muscle growth, tissue repair and brain regeneration.” Quality sleep is tied to improved concentration, memory, immunity, emotional stability and libido. On the other hand, lack of sleep is associated with obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, early mortality and a higher incidence of automobile and other accidents.


That’s a host of reasons to get a good night’s rest. Here are Dr. Kurek’s tips for healthy sleep:

  1. Don’t sacrifice your Zs. Most adults need 8 hours of sleep each night, and children need more. The number one sleep problem doctors see is self-induced sleep deprivation. “In our busy world, people sacrifice sleep. It’s a national health problem,” says Dr. Kurek.
  2. Keep to a schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same times each day, even on the weekends. The body likes predictable rhythms.
  3. Practice sleep hygiene. No, you don’t need to wash your sheets every night. But do keep your bed a dedicated place for sleep: no working on the computer, reading or eating.
  4. Get out of the bedroom. Although it may sound counterintuitive, don’t lie awake in bed for hours if you’re restless. If you’re awake in bed for more than twenty minutes, get up and read something boring until you feel sleepy, then go back to bed.
  5. Skip the wine. Although you may fall asleep faster after having a drink, alcohol actually interferes with the quality of sleep. Minimize alcohol consumption and don’t drink before bed.
  6. Turn it off. Bathing yourself in artificial light – be it from a cell phone, tablet, computer or TV – right before bed suppresses melatonin and can prevent quality sleep. Don’t rely on the TV or radio either, as eventually the background noise will disturb you.

If basic sleep hygiene isn’t helping you feel rested, you’re not alone. An estimated 15 percent of Americans suffer from some type of sleep disorder.


DCMC’s Sleep Disorders Facility, where patients can be diagnosed and treated for a variety of disorders, can help. Sleep apnea is the number one reason patients visit the facility. Sleep apnea is often associated with obesity, but losing weight can be hard when sleep quality suffers, as metabolism is negatively affected by poor sleep. “Patients who use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine can jumpstart their weight loss efforts,” says Dr. Kurek. “They feel better, their weight should normalize and they will have more energy, so it could be easier to lose weight.”

For more information on sleep, or to schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist, call (920) 746-3585.

Savor the Flavor in March

We often think of food simply as energy and nutrients. Food provides these things, but there is another side of food to explore. In celebration of National Nutrition Month, we are appreciating the social aspects of food, as well as flavors and textures.

Food is often the center of gatherings with family and friends. Do you serve traditional dishes at holidays? Are there certain spices or herbs that remind you of home? These flavors bring variety and interest to our meals. Slow down and enjoy!

This month, why not try some new flavors in your meals? Buy a fruit, vegetable, spice or herb you’ve never had before. Make it a goal to try a new recipe with an ethnic flavor. Here’s a list of popular ethnic cuisines and flavors associated with them to inspire you:

  • China: low-sodium soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger
  • Greece: olive oil, lemon, oregano
  • India: curry, cumin, garlic, ginger
  • Italy: tomato, garlic, basil, marjoram
  • Mexico: tomato, chili, paprika

In honor of National Nutrition month, be bold and “savor the flavor” of something new. It just may be the beginning of an enjoyable eating tradition! Here’s a stir fry recipe from Spark.People to get you started:

Sirloins on sweet and sour sauce served with boiled rice

Pork Apple Stir Fry

This super simple supper is packed full of fruits and veggies.

Minutes to prepare: 10    Minutes to cook: 15    Number of servings: 4


  • 2 Tbsp. peach jam, preferably fruit-sweetened
  • 2 Tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dark toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 lb. (8 oz) pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
  • 1 1/2 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped yellow pepper
  • 1 can (8 oz) sliced water chesnuts, drained
  • 2 firm apples, such as Fuji or Gala, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1.  In a small bowl, combine jam, soy sauce, water and cornstarch. Set aside.
  2.  In large non-stick skillet, heat sesame oil over medium high heat. Add pork and ginger and stir-fry until pork is browned and just cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Transfer pork and ginger to bowl with slotted spoon. Add canola oil to skillet. Stir-fry peppers, water chesnuts and apples until peppers are crisp and tender, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add pork back to skillet along with scallions. Stir-fry 30 seconds. Add jam mixture. Continue to stir-fry 30 seconds to one minute, or until sauce thickens. Season to taste with black pepper.

Makes 4 servings. 313 calories, 8.5 gm fat, 19.5 gm protein, 41 gm carbohydrate, 6 gm fiber per serving.

-Judi Sowl, RD Nutritionist, Ministry Door County Medical Center