Category Archives: People

End The Stigma: A Conversation About Suicide

More than 40,000 people die by suicide every year, leaving friends and family to navigate the pain associated with such tremendous loss. As neighbors, we have the opportunity to raise awareness and to build community around an issue that impacts the lives of so many. Sharing stories and connecting with others is something we can all do: sharing stories can save a life.

September is Suicide Awareness Month and we caught up with DCMC’s Behavioral Health Coordinator, Barb Johnson-Giese, MSW, LCSW, CSAC, ICS to discuss this important topic.

Q) How do we prevent instances of suicide from occurring within our community?

Barb Johnson-Giese (BJG): First and foremost, community members need to acknowledge that suicide is a community concern, and not just the individual who has suicidal thoughts and attempts or dies by suicide. Although it is slowly changing, stigma surrounding mental illness continues to deter others from seeking services and support.  Educating our community members to recognize signs that a person/loved one may be experiencing thoughts of suicide is key to our community preventing further instances of suicides attempts and deaths.

Q) How is DCMC helping to prevent suicide in Door County? What other organizations does DCMC collaborate with to address this issue?

BJG: DCMC is an active member of the Door County Mental Health Focus Group, which was developed in partnership with Door County Public Health as a result of the Community Needs Assessment which identified a lack of behavioral health services in Door County. This group is charged with providing awareness and education to our community. Other member organizations include Prevent Suicide Door County – Nathan Wilson Coalition, Door County Human Services, JAK’s Place, Door County Partnership for Children and Families, Little Eddie Big Cup, Door County United Way, UW-Extension and others.

Q) What should a person do if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts?

BJG: My wish for anyone who experiences thoughts of suicide is to know they’re not alone, and that there are people who care and want to help. If you or someone you love is having thoughts of suicide, please contact any of the following resources:

  • Door County Mental Health Crisis Line at 920-746-2588
  • Mental Health Text Line: Text “HOPELINE” to 741741 or “APOYO” to 839863 (Spanish)
  • National Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255
  • Contact your primary care provider or another health provider

If you or someone you know is planning to hurt or kill themselves:

  • Go to the nearest Emergency Department, or Call 911

Q) What if I don’t know a person very well but have heard that they are contemplating suicide? What should I do?

BJG: It can be a scary and uncomfortable situation, and there is a myth that talking about suicide with someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts will increase the likelihood they will kill themselves. However, this is FALSE – talking with someone about suicide actually REDUCES their chance of harming themselves. Take the person seriously, and acknowledge their thoughts of suicide. Offer to listen and help them connect with community resources. Remember that depression and other mental illnesses are similar to heart disease, diabetes, etc. Think about what you would do if you saw someone who was having a heart attack or a stroke, and get them help!

Q) What educational tools are available to our community members to help us understand suicide?

BJG: The best way to prevent suicide is to remain proactive. Help reduce the stigma of mental illness and consider participating in community events to increase awareness and education about mental illness. Prevent Suicide Door County – Nathan Wilson Coalition provides free Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) training for all community members to recognize, respond and get help for someone who is thinking of suicide. For further information on QPR training, contact Monica at 920-495-7832. You can also check out their website for additional information.

Keeping Active After Discharge

Door County Medical center is devoted not only to the wellbeing of patients currently under our care, but also to those patients who have been discharged. In order to better guarantee positive long-term outcomes for our patients, DCMC’s Rehab Services team has joined with Exercise Physiologist Adam Peronto to develop a new program that provides support for patients who have been discharged.

Adam Peronto

Adam Peronto

Adam Peronto brings a diverse array of rehabilitation practices to Door County Medical Center. A 2017 graduate of UW-Eau Claire, Adam worked with children and adults with cognitive disabilities, providing recreational programs to improve movement skills and encourage physical activity. His involvement in a research study, which investigated the impact regular exercise had on the communication abilities of aphasia patients, lead to the development of aphasia specific exercise protocols for group exercise sessions in Minneapolis and Eau Claire. Additionally, Adam has worked with many community outreach programs such as LEEPS, Community Fitness, LIVESTRONG and Special Olympics. More recently, he has worked at the DCMC clinics in Sister Bay and Sturgeon Bay as a rehabilitation assistant.

Bridges to Health

Adam’s most recent project, Bridges to Health, helps patients who, following a medical service at DCMC, need guidance in becoming physically active and in developing a healthy lifestyle. This program focuses on prevention and management by prescribing exercise. Bridges to Health is a supervised exercise program that is safe and appropriate for patients in need of medical supervision during exercise. “We’re concentrating on our geriatric population and on people with special health concerns who have recently been discharged.” says Adam. “This program is designed to help our patients maintain the progress that they made under our care and to help them improve their long-term health.”

Adam will meet with participants at the rehab clinics in Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay and Algoma to develop an exercise program that safely helps participants manage their weight and improve their strength, endurance and balance. Adam will also be able to go into the home to provide his service for specialty cases. The focus of this program is to eventually ‘bridge’ participants to local organizations and services that will help them continue to improve their wellbeing. Adam adds, “My goal is to provide additional support to our patients through movement and exercise in order to prevent future health problems. After our service we want to help bridge our patients to community organizations that improve social participation and create lasting health benefits. Even though they are no longer in our care we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to help our patients live a healthy lifestyle.”

The long-term benefits of the Bridges to Health program include:

  • Improved physical fitness
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Decreased cholesterol levels
  • Improved cardiovascular function
  • Increased physical activity
  • Faster recovery time
  • Decreased likelihood of future health problems

Door County Medical Center supports a culture of wellness by keeping you active, healthy and independent. Begin your journey today! For more information regarding Bridge to Health call 920-746-0410 or talk with your DCMC physician. This program will be available in Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay and Algoma.

50 rural hospital CEOs to know | 2018

Gerald Worrick recognized as a top rural hospital CEO to know by Becker’s Healthcare

Becker's top 50 Rural Hospital CEOs to Know 2018

The CEOs featured on this list have overcome significant challenges operating rural community and critical access hospitals to lead sustainable and thriving organizations. Many CEOs have served their institutions for decades, recruiting physicians, expanding services and implementing technology platforms to ensure the best care possible for their communities.

Becker’s Healthcare accepted nominations for this list and considered leaders making a positive impact on their organizations. The CEOs featured lead hospitals consistently recognized by the National Rural Health Association, American Hospital Association and HIMSS as top institutions; others sit on local chamber of commerce boards and serve on state hospital associations.

As president and CEO of Door County Medical Center, Gerald Worrick (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.) has overseen the hospital’s efforts to affiliate with Hospital Sisters Health System. In his current role, Mr. Worrick oversees a medical staff that includes more than 175 physicians at the critical access hospital and satellite clinics. Mr. Worrick also has experience in leadership roles with the American Hospital Association and served in administrative positions at hospitals in Chicago and Eau Claire, Wis., before joining Door County.

Note: This list is not an endorsement of any individual or institution featured. Individuals do not pay and cannot pay for inclusion on this list.

Contact Laura Dyrda at ldyrda@beckershealthcare.com with any questions about this list.

The Jody Boes Scholarship – A New Opportunity for DCMC’s Nursing Staff

Pam and Bill WelterUpon returning home in 2014 from ten days in the intensive care unit, one of the first things Pam Welter decided to do was write thank-you-notes to her attending staff at Door County Medical Center. “The two hospitalists were absolutely fabulous” Pam recalled, “the level of care was so high; there never was a bad day of care. Everyone they sent in was top notch. And the nurses were amazing; no question was too dumb. If you felt anxious they would sit with you—no medications—they would just help you through it.”

In fact, it was the nursing team that Pam and her husband Bill Welter were perhaps most impressed with and in looking back on their experience at DCMC, Bill and Pam now credit the excellent quality of nursing care to a business-wide culture of caring that is tied directly to Jody Boes; “Jody was in charge of everything. She came in and introduced herself and wanted to know what I thought,” Pam said, “and you know, who am I? But just like everyone that works under her, she wanted my opinion, she wanted what was best for my care.”

Jody Boes Scholarship

Jody Boes

As Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care Administration, Jody is responsible for all of the direct patient care departments in the hospital, which include emergency care, inpatient care, cardiopulmonary services, surgical services among others. “She’s the driver,” said DCMC’s Chief Quality Officer Christa Krause, “Jody sets high goals and achieves results, she keeps the nursing staff on track to high quality standards. I do believe that without her guidance we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Nursing seems to have been the profession that Jody was always drawn towards. “As a child,” Jody recollected, “I always carried around the doctor/nurse kit.” In 1969, her childhood dream was realized when, at the age of 18, she received a scholarship of $800 from a local hospital auxiliary to attend Bellin’s nursing program. Since then Jody has worked in Door County as a registered nurse for the past 45 years, first for the hospital then working with Dr. John Herlache, and rejoining the hospital that would eventually become Door County Medical Center. Jody also was a Captain in the United States Army nurse corps serving active duty during Desert Storm stationed in Heidelberg, Germany.

Jody Boes ScholarshipNow, looking toward retirement, and reflecting on the scholarship that she received, Jody is looking to support the nursing community in a similar way. In partnership with Bill and Pam Welter, the Jody Boes Scholarship was set up, providing nurses pursuing an advance degree at either the Masters or Doctorate level with $2,500 a year in funding. “I don’t want a competition between scholarships,” adds Jody, “the hospital auxiliary does a great job with undergraduate scholarships. I want to focus on individuals who are looking for an advanced degree in nursing—a Ph.D., or MSN, for example.”

Her reasons for looking to promote graduate nursing degrees are two-fold and focus on the increased level of skill that is required in the 21st-century and the changing demographics of rural communities. “The reality is,” Jody said “with regard to nursing, when I was a diploma graduate we managed nursing care in the hospitals. Now, nurses need to be better educated—they need to be the most educated—because they are the front line—they are the eyes, ears and hands for our physicians 24/7.  Also, as more and more baby boomers need health care, nurse practitioners in rural areas are going to become very important because, let’s face it, there is a physician shortage.”

“All we want to do is fund what Jody wants to do,” said Bill Welter, “We believe in supporting the community, in giving back to the community and in improving the community. That’s where we got the idea. We thought we could both help the community and recognize the work that Jody has done for the last 45 years.”

The Jody Boes Scholarship is available to eligible candidates of Door County Medical Center who are pursuing an advanced degree in nursing, including but not limited to: MSN; NP; CRNA; PhD; Clinical Nurse Specialist; and Clinical Nurse Leader. Applications open in January 2018. The first scholarship will be awarded in May around National Nurses Day.

Kelsie Ladick: Touching the Community

Taking care of students from Gibraltar to Southern Door is all in a day’s work for Kelsie Ladick, LPN. Kelsie serves children through Door County Medical Center’s (DCMC) school nursing program. “Our mission is to keep local students healthy so they can learn and grow,” she says. A typical day for Kelsie includes illness and injury assessment, medication administration and educating staff on students’ medical needs and conditions.

LadickKelsie has been with DCMC since 2010, and has worked as a school nurse since 2014. Her first few years at the hospital, she worked in the Skilled Nursing Facility and the DCMC Clinic. “I’ve spent much of my career working with seniors, and now I am enjoying caring for children and seeing that end of the spectrum,” she says.

She says she and other school nursing staff are a resource for community members. “When DCMC made the transition to partnering with HSHS, we had a lot of school staff and parents asking us about that. We were able to tell them that the quality of care wouldn’t change, and they’d have access to more specialists.”

In the community at large, Kelsie is also a go-to person for other parents and kids. “I have two boys, so I spend a lot of time at sporting events, often in my scrubs,” she says. She often fields medical questions, and helps with injuries and assessments on the field and on the court.

DCMC’s school nursing program serves the Gibraltar, Southern Door and Sturgeon Bay districts.

Jeff Heck: Leading and Serving

For Jeff Heck, a Door County Medical Center Auxiliary member, volunteering in the DCMC Outpatient Surgical Unit (OPSU) is like coming full circle. “I started my career as a paramedic, then worked in management consulting with pharmaceutical companies, so I’ve always been interested in medicine.” Now, Jeff is one of more than twenty volunteers who help surgical patients at DCMC to feel cared for.

Jeff’s volunteer duties are many, including stocking refrigerators with snacks and drinks, maintaining supplies and helping patients travel from the waiting room to the operating room to post-op. But above all, Jeff’s job is to welcome patients and provide a friendly face that stays with them and their family throughout their day.

Heck“When we ride up in the elevator, you can tell which patients are anxious,” he says. “I always reassure them, letting them know they will be in great hands with the phenomenal staff and surgeons.” Then, throughout a patient’s time in OPSU, Jeff makes sure they have everything from a warm blanket, to a snack and cup of coffee while in recovery. “I tell them I’m part of their team, and I’m here for them. If they need anything or have any questions, I’ll get them what they need.”

The work is easy for Jeff, because he believes in the care patients are receiving. “The staff is just amazing: nurses, surgeons and anesthesiologists. They’re all so personable and their outcomes are outstanding.”  Like all volunteers, Jeff is encouraged to offer feedback to DCMC staff. “Gwen Haight, manager of surgical services at DCMC, works closely with us and values our contributions and suggestions. Since my area of expertise was process engineering, I have ideas, and the staff is very open to them.”

Jeff and his wife, Gloria, moved full-time to Door County three years ago, after spending time seasonally in the country for a decade. “After getting settled, we began to look for a place where we could contribute.” They both found the Auxiliary to be a perfect fit. In addition to his weekly volunteer time in the OPSU, Jeff is vice president of the Auxiliary, while Gloria volunteers at the Dental Clinic and DCMC gift shop and serves as chair of this year’s House and Garden Walk.

While Jeff encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to consider membership in the Auxiliary, he is especially eager to welcome more men. “Of our membership of 200, there are about a dozen men. We want men to know they have a key role to play in our Auxiliary and there are many ways they can be involved, including those that don’t require direct patient contact. We welcome anyone who wants to serve.”

Luke Spude: Homegrown Talent

Luke Spude, Door County native and Southern Door alumnus, is happy to be putting his new degree to work at Door County Medical Center. The 2016 Marian University graduate was administrative intern at the hospital last summer, an experience he says taught him many sides of the health care business. “I was able to work on special projects in the finance, marketing and accounting departments,” he says. Through the internship, he had a chance to see the many areas of the community DCMC supports, from outdoor sporting events to school initiatives.

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Growing up in Southern Door, Luke experienced DCMC community support through his active role in the arts. A talented singer, he appeared on stage at the Southern Door Auditorium in several events supported by the hospital, including Door County Idol. He also received a scholarship from DCMC designed to support local high school graduates entering the health care field. “It’s amazing to see all the places Door County Medical Center gives back to the community,” he says.

Now Spude has landed a full-time job working in the accounts payable department. He sees fellow Southern Door graduates throughout the day, who hold jobs in everything from nursing to facilities management. “This place really is a center of the community, providing great care for patients and jobs for the community,” he says.

 

Diana Wallace: A Warm Welcome

Diana Wallace knows the first interaction a patient experiences at a provider’s office is critical. As Rehab Assistant at Door County Medical Center’s (DCMC) Rehab Services Clinic in Sister Bay at Scandia Village, Wallace’s job includes scheduling appointments, handling billing and answering the phones. “But,” she says, “the most important thing I do is invite patients into the clinic and make them as comfortable as possible.”

Many patients coming to Rehab Services are recovering from recent joint replacement or other surgery. “It’s an intense time,” she says. “They are in pain, and it’s our job to help them understand we are here to help them feel better, better than they felt before surgery.”

wallace_2407Working in a clinic was a sea change for Wallace, who had a long career as a corporate marketing executive before moving to Door County ten years ago. After starting her own interior design business in Sister Bay, she realized she needed a job that would offer health benefits, and was hired part-time at the Sister Bay Clinic. “It has been ten years. I wasn’t planning to be here this long,” she laughs.

Wallace looks forward to coming to work and likes the fact that the patients she serves are also her friends and neighbors. “We recently moved into a new state of the art space in Scandia Village’s new addition.  It’s such a pleasant and comfortable space for patients. My colleagues are great people who enjoy learning and growing.”

Since moving to the county 15 years ago, Wallace has noticed a shift in the way people regard Door County Medical Center. “People know they can get virtually every kind of care at DCMC,” she says, “including joint replacement and cancer care close to home.” When Wallace first arrived in the county, she too wondered if she would need to move away from Door County as she grew older, to access high quality care. She doesn’t think that way anymore. “I know I’ll stay here, and I’m absolutely confident I’ll get excellent care from the doctors and therapists at DCMC.”

Being part of the local health care team means a lot to Wallace. “I always get stopped in the grocery store by someone telling me they’ll see me soon at the clinic or asking about available appointments. It’s a good feeling to be connected to this community.”

For more general information about DCMC Rehab Services please call 920-746-0410.

Employee Art Warms New Clinic Space

When Door County Medical Center announced plans to renovate its main clinic in Sturgeon Bay, president and CEO Jerry Worrick knew he wanted something special to adorn the walls. “We have such a depth of talent among our staff, including many fine amateur photographers,” he said. The hospital put out a call to DCMC staff members to submit photographs of Door County scenes for consideration.

"The Fence" by Corinne Schaefer

“The Fence” by Corinne Schaefer

“The response was overwhelming,” said Jodi Hibbard, director of clinic operations who helped organize the project. “We had more than 70 photography submissions from a wide range of staff and providers.” Through an inclusive voting process, all those employed by DCMC selected the top 10 photographs. “There was a tie for tenth place, so we ended up selecting 13 photographs to be printed and mounted.”

 

"Summer Field" by Heather Khan

“Summer Field” by Heather Khan

 

The result is a beautiful and tranquil gallery, featuring subject matter ranging from iconic Door County scenes like Cave Point, to pictures of children and animals. “We wanted to pay homage to the fact that our employees have rich lives and talents outside of work. We could have purchased stock photos, but it’s more meaningful to have this gallery created by our own team,” said Hibbard.

The gallery is in the rear hallway of the main clinic in Sturgeon Bay, open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Wendy Ulrikson: Getting People What They Need

Wendy Ulrikson likes playing a supporting role. As department assistant for Cardiopulmonary Services, she works every day to communicate with patients and support staff members. “My role includes scheduling respiratory tests, calling patients to set up sleep lab appointments, and supporting the sleep lab and respiratory technicians,” she says.

Ulrikson joined DCMC in 2011, at a time when the Sleep Facility was expanding. “As an American Academy of Sleep Medicine accredited sleep lab, there’s a lot that needs to be done to stay current and make sure we are providing best practices for our patients.”

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Her background in business administration in shipbuilding and manufacturing and as a pharmacy tech prepared her for the varied demands of health care work. She even worked in the IT department of a nuclear plant. “I love being in this supporting role. Helping people achieve their goals and get the resources they need to accomplish their jobs is really fulfilling for me.”

Ulrikson has referred many friends, family and acquaintances to the DCMC Sleep Lab. “I’ve learned a lot about sleep issues, and when I hear people talk about certain symptoms, I’m able to share my knowledge about how sleep problems can have a serious effect on health.”

She also enjoys talking with patients and helping them understand the “why” of their respiratory care. “Patients really appreciate when we take the time to explain the process of testing,” she says. Recently, a patient thanked Ulrikson and told her of the difference she made in his care by encouraging him to get to all of his appointments. “That made me feel really good.”

Outside of work, Ulrikson enjoys spending time with her two young grandchildren. “We always look forward to doing things in the community, including activities sponsored by the hospital.” She has taken her grandchildren to the Southern Door Eagle Trail Run, and hopes to enroll them in next summer’s Art on the Wild Side classes.

When she’s out and about, she isn’t shy about telling her own DCMC story. “I’m not just an employee – this is where I get my own health care, including surgeries. I will come back in a heartbeat, because the care here is such high quality.”