Monthly Archives: August 2016

Helping Kids be Kids: DCMC’s Outpatient Pediatric Therapists

Door County Medical Center (DCMC) has the only Outpatient Pediatric Therapy Department in the county. Therapists Katie Rankin and Chelsey Brusse work with children every day to help them improve their function in the daily lives.

Rankin and Brusse provide occupational therapy, helping build children’s independence with daily tasks including throwing a ball, getting themselves dressed and other developmental milestones. They also serve patients with ADHD or autism diagnoses, who often struggle with sensory regulation. “Although many of our patients are also seen by therapists in school, we focus on home and community-based activities that help kids function better in their families and daily life,” says Rankin.


Chelsey Brusse, OTR

Katie Rankin, OTR

Katie Rankin, OTR

The Outpatient Pediatric Department also provides speech therapy and physical therapy, all in a special set of rooms with equipment including swings, balls, balancing equipment and toys. The department works closely with DCMC’s financial advisors to make sure that services are accessible and affordable for families.

“We are proud that DCMC has such an outstanding team of therapists to meet the needs of local children. Families are grateful to have these services right here in Door County,” says Deb Whitelaw-Gorksi, Director of Rehab Services. As for Rankin and Brusse, their reward is seeing kids progress. “Children know when they’re improving, and we can see their feelings of accomplishment,” says Brusse. “The best part is helping them do things other kids can do, like simply playing ball in the backyard with a brother or sister.”

A provider referral is required to obtain pediatric therapy services. For questions, call Chelsey Brusse or Katie Rankin at 920.746.3650 ext. 3317.

Skilled Nursing Facility Increases Private Room Offerings

The Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) at Door County Medical Center (DCMC) is now offering an increased number of private rooms to residents. The facility has 22 private and four semi-private rooms. “We’re very excited to be meeting the demand for more private rooms,” says Judy Sinitz, RN, the SNF’s director of nursing, “and to continue to offer semi-private rooms for those who prefer that option.”

SNF resident Dorothy Schley cuts the ribbon at the recent opening ceremony of the renovated facility.

SNF resident Dorothy Schley cuts the ribbon at the recent opening ceremony of the renovated facility.

Residents who choose one of the newly renovated private rooms will still have plenty of opportunity for socialization. With the choice of communal meals, as well as daily group activities and individualized care, residents experience a home-like environment. In addition to creating more private rooms, the SNF also upgraded security measures to ensure residents’ safety.

DCMC’s Skilled Nursing Facility has consistently achieved an overall five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for their facility, staff and quality of care, placing it in the top 10% of long term care facilities in the nation. “In addition to our dedicated and caring staff, our SNF is distinguished by the fact that we are physically connected to the hospital and North Shore Medical Clinic,” says Sinitz. “This gives our residents unparalleled access to care.”

Newly renovated rooms are spacious, comfortable and private.

Newly renovated rooms are spacious, comfortable and private.

To learn more about the Skilled Nursing Facility at DCMC, call (920) 746-3663.

M.IN.D. Workshop Supports Those Coping with Memory Issues

You can do something about memory issues. Door County Medical Center presents Memory In Development (M.IN.D), a free workshop for people coping with an early dementia-related diagnosis or mild memory concerns. This six week, research-driven exercise and caregiver support workshop empowers participants and caregivers through access to education, strategies, and sPicture1upport in a socially enriching atmosphere.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers will be offered consecutively with MIND.  Powerful Tools for Caregivers is an evidence-based workshop researched to promote caregiver health by offering tools that enhance not only caregiving but caregiver wellbeing.  Any adult family caregiver, even those who do not have a loved one participating in MIND, can participate in Powerful Tools.

There are two locations for the workshops:


Northern Door: Scandia Village Good Samaritan, Sister Bay. Wednesdays, Sept. 7- Oct. 12, 12:30-3:30 p.m.

Sturgeon Bay: United Methodist Church. Wednesdays, October 17-Nov. 23, 12:00-3:00 p.m.

M.IN.D. is offered in collaboration between Ministry Memory Clinic, Door County YMCA, Scandia Village Good Samaritan, United Methodist Church, and the ADRC of Door County/Aging Services.  Lunch and materials are included. For more information or to register, please contact Program Coordinator Christy Wisniewski, at (920) 746-3504.


Living Well Workshop Serves Those with Ongoing Health Conditions

Door County Medical Center (DCMC) presents a free six-week workshop for those with ongoing health conditions, starting Monday, September 12. Developed at Stanford University, the workshop has been offered at hundreds of locations throughout the United States. It helps participants with ongoing health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, heart disease, anxiety and others to:

  • Find better ways of dealing with pain and fatigue
  • Discover easy exercises to help improve or maintain strength and energy
  • Learn the appropriate use of medications
  • Improve nutrition
  • Talk effectively with family, friends and health professionals
  • Understand new treatment choices
  • Feel better about life

For most of her adult life, local resident Doris didn’t worry much about her health. Then at 67, she was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure. She tried to follow her doctor’s advice to take her medications, exercise, and eat better. But often she was tired and even a little depressed. “I figured it was just part of getting older,” she recalls.

Man hand puting the red soft heart in woman hand

Then Doris discovered the Living Well workshop. “I now have a new sense of being in control,” said Doris, “The workshop has really helped me put life back in my life.”

Taught by specially trained volunteer leaders, some who have health conditions themselves, the program covers a new topic each week and provides opportunities for interaction and group problem solving.  “We are really more like coaches,” says Christy Wisniewski, Geriatric Outreach Specialist at DCMC and a leader for the Living Well workshop.  “The answer to someone’s question is usually in the room.”

The next Living Well workshop begins Monday, September 12th, and will take place every Monday from 1:00 to 3:30 for six weeks at Door County Medical Center.

For more information or to enroll in the Living Well workshop, call Christy Wisniewski at (920) 746-3504.

Nursing As Ministry: Rachel Mallien, RN

For Rachel Mallien, being a nurse isn’t just a job. “It’s who I am,” she says. Her career at Door County Medical Center (DCMC) has spanned 10 years – four as a medical assistant at the DCMC Clinic, and six as an RN in the Medical/Surgical Department and Intensive Care Unit (ICU), where she currently works.

IMG_5552“I love the ICU,” says Rachel. “It keeps you on your toes and engages your critical thinking.” Above all, it’s the teamwork she enjoys. “As nurses, we are encouraged to be the eyes and ears of the hospitalists. The doctors respect us and depend on us, and they are wonderful physicians. It’s a great working environment.” Rachel’s day-to-day job includes everything from administering medication, to helping patients ambulate, to providing family support for patients being discharged. “Of course, the rehab team, emergency team and medical/surgical team provide so much support for our patients. I never have to worry if my colleagues are going to be there to provide help – they’re just there.”

Rachel went back to school for nursing after starting a family. She, her husband, and her 13-year-old daughter live in Sturgeon Bay. “I wouldn’t have been ready for this career straight out of high school,” she says. “My life experience made me a better student and nurse.” While studying nursing at NWTC, she spent a summer in DCMC’s Nurse Externship Program. “That summer gave me a great understanding of the field. I worked with Ellen Knipfer, and learned that DCMC was where I wanted to be.”

Recently, Susan Johnson, hospital chaplain, was visiting with a patient under Rachel’s care. The patient commented on the high quality of care she received and Johnson said of Rachel, “Being a nurse is truly her ministry.” Rachel couldn’t agree more. In addition to her work in the ICU, she enjoys volunteering as camp nurse at her church’s yearly summer youth camp, as well as serving as nurse for a recent mission trip to Haiti. “I’ll do it again next year, and any time I can,” she says.

As a DCMC ambassador, Rachel has changed several people’s minds about the hospital. “Some older people have perceptions about DCMC left over from years and years ago,” she says. “I’ve encouraged friends and family to try us again, and when they do, they have been very pleased with their care, and amazed at our state-of-the-art facilities.”

As for her future, Rachel hopes to someday take a turn in the Emergency Department. “I thrive on learning new things. Really, I’d like to work in every department at some point!” Although her retirement is years away, she is already planning a second career as an outreach nurse, continuing her own ministry through faith-based trips and camps.

Dr. John Arnold: Ready to Listen

Dr. John Arnold is thrilled to join Dr. Amy Fogerty in providing pediatric care at The Children’s Center of Door County Medical Center (DCMC). A native of Appleton, Arnold was a firefighter for 20 years before attending UW-Madison to pursue a medical degree. “I originally thought I would be a family practitioner, but I fell I love with pediatrics during my residency,” he says.

After obtaining his medical degree, Arnold practiced pediatrics in Lander, Wyoming and Missoula, Montana, where he also integrated sports medicine into his work. Dr. Arnold also spent several years traveling nationally to educate physicians on asthma and allergy issues, in particular food allergies. He brings a strong background in allergies to his practice at DCMC.


Arnold describes himself as a listener. “I learn the most by listening to children and their parents, and observing,” he says. “My style is definitely laid-back, and I particularly enjoy well-child visits and getting to know children and families over time.” Himself a father and grandfather, he is known to share the photo of himself as a ladder truck driver with his patients.

After living in the west, Arnold is glad to find himself once more in Northeast Wisconsin. “Growing up, I spent time fishing and golfing here in Door County. It’s great to be back, especially working at an organization like DCMC which is so committed to community health.” An avid hockey player and golfer, Arnold is looking forward to the recreational possibilities of Door County as well.

To make an appointment with Dr. Arnold, call The Women’s and Children’s Center at (920) 746-3666.

DCMC Southern Door Community Clinic Expands Hours, Welcomes Provider

In order to meet increased demand for primary and family health care services, Door County Medical Center’s Southern Door Community Clinic will expand its hours of operation. The clinic is now open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday hours are 8 a.m. to noon. The facility is located on campus at Southern Door Schools, 2071 County Road DK in Brussels.

 Nicole WeNicloleWelter_wCoat-1lter, APNP, is the provider at the clinic. She brings 10 years of experience in a variety of clinical settings, including family practice and cardio-thoracic and surgical units. Welter holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Bellin College and a Master of Science in Nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner credential from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. She looks forward to serving the Southern Door Community and meeting the health care needs of adults and children.

DCMC’s Southern Door Community Clinic, established in partnership with Southern Door Schools, serves all members of the community for primary and preventative care, urgent care, pediatrics, sports physicals and lab services. Call (920) 746-3664 for an appointment.

Ask the Expert: Back to School Health Tips

by Dr. Amy Fogarty, Pediatrician, Door County Medical Center

For families with school-aged children, August brings a flurry of preparations for the new school year. In addition to school shopping and registration, keep in mind these back-to-school health tips:

fogarty_head shot

  • Immunize. August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and because of back to school and sports physicals, it’s a good time to be sure kids are up-to-date with their immunizations. In addition to the roster of childhood immunizations, there are several important vaccines for teens including those that protect against meningitis, Hepatitis A and human papillomavirus (HPV). “The HPV vaccine is important for both boys and girls,” says Dr. Fogarty. “Not only does it protect against cervical cancer, but it is also effective against most cases of head, neck and throat cancer.”
  • Timing is everything. Mid-August is a good time to start transitioning back to school year schedules, since it often takes a few weeks to get back into the swing of appropriate bedtimes and wake times. “When considering wake times, be sure to account for adequate breakfast time, as well as enough time to prepare school lunches,” says Dr. Fogarty. To keep kids’ appetites on track, serve meals at times when they will be served during the school year. Kids who are hungry don’t do as well in school as those who eat regular meals and snacks.
  • Stress less. The beginning of the school year can be a stressful time for kids. Talk to your child daily about their activities at school, teachers and friends, and homework and expectations. “As a provider with a strong interest in mental health, I tell parents if they notice changes in a child’s sleep or eating habits, reactions that are out of proportion to events or a excessive crying or complaining about school, it may be time to seek medical attention.” Touch base with your child’s teacher three to four weeks into the school year. This is enough time for teachers to get to know your child, and allows parents to address concerns early.