Category Archives: Services

Door County Dad Breastfeeds Newborn at Door County Medical Center

For first-time Sturgeon Bay parents Maxamillian and April Neubauer, breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact with their newborn were at the top of their birth plan. But on June 26, April suffered two seizures caused by pre-eclampsia and had to undergo an emergency c-section. Newborn Rosalía Lupita Valentina Neubauer came into the world and turned her parent’s birth plan on its head.

Dad Breastfeeds Newborn at DCMC“Normally with a C-section we would bring dad back into the operating room, but because April had a second seizure, we had dad wait in the nursery. After surgery we transferred April to the ICU for additional monitoring,” said Cybil Martin-Dennehy, RN, “As soon as Rosalía was stable we brought her out to see her dad for the first time. Max was immediately excited to see his baby girl.”

Skin-to-Skin Contact and Breastfeeding

Rosalía was healthy but experiencing minor respiratory distress mostly from the shock of delivery. April was unconscious and wouldn’t be stabilized for a while, explained Cybil, “Even if we attempted breastfeeding with her, we still didn’t want to risk April having a seizure while nursing her baby. That’s when we decided to do the first feed in the nursery.”

Dad Breastfeeds Newborn at DCMCA strong proponent of breastfeeding, along with her desire to follow the family’s wishes for skin-to-skin contact and early breastfeeding, Cybil offered a creative, yet altogether commonplace solution, “I suggested to Max a supplemental nursing system, where we use a nipple shield over someone’s actual nipple and then thread a feeding tube with formula from a syringe through that nipple. That way baby can still nurse and stimulate the feeling of being at the breast.”

The first feed is crucial in helping to establish breastfeeding. Nipple confusion may occur in babies who are bottle-fed prior to breastfeeding, which can result in difficulty latching. Nipple shields feel more like teats and aid with the transition to breastfeeding. “Babies get their stimulation to suck from the roof of their mouth. It’s easy to get that stimulation at the roof of their mouth with a long bottle nipple. If we give a baby something easy like this, with a continuous flow of food, they don’t want to work so hard when breastfeeding from mom,” explains Cybil, “Skin-to-skin contact also encourages breastfeeding and helps to regulate baby’s temperature as well as heart and respiratory rates. In skin-to-skin contact, baby lays directly against a family member’s skin.”

Supplemental nursing systems are used in a variety of situations ranging from adoptive moms, moms with flat or inverted nipples, or a baby with additional supplementation needs. A noticeably proud Cybil admitted, “It’s not the first time I’ve asked a new father to do this but it is the first time a father stepped up and said yes- Max was completely game for it!”


Dad Breastfeeds Newborn at DCMCCradled in her father’s arms, Rosalía laid on her father’s chest and breastfed for the first time in her life. The nursing staff erupted with celebration. “It went fantastic! Baby was able to eat 8 ml of formula which is wonderful for a first feed. She was no longer in respiratory distress and everything went exactly as we hoped it would,” said Cybil.
Grandma and Great Grandpa were the third and fourth family members to meet Rosalía. Great Grandpa was initially a bit stoic and paced the room before he finally approached Max, patted him and said, “you’re going to be a great dad.”

Max, who works at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, has had coworkers joke that maybe it’s time the shipyard provides a pumping room- but maybe the joke is actually closer to reality than we realize.

Dad Breastfeeds Newborn at DCMC“We are in middle of a movement of trying to normalize breastfeeding. I think for so long, breastfeeding has been something that people try to shame,” says Cybil, “You’re supposed to keep yourself covered in public, not expose yourself to other people. Women are speaking up a lot more about their delivery experiences, about how wonderful breastfeeding is. I think it’s important because women can feel like they’re not alone in this. There’s also this stigma with men that they’re supposed to be a man and breastfeeding is typically thought of as a woman’s thing. So when there’s a man doing it, it’s kind of a big deal,” says Cybil.

“For me, as a nurse, I really think that raising a baby is a partner effort. Even though dad isn’t producing milk for baby, he can still play a huge role in mom’s breastfeeding journey.”

Trusted Team, Close to Home

Dad Breastfeeds Newborn at DCMCDoor County Medical Center Obstetrics team understands that every baby and every birth is special, which is why we tailor our services to fit your needs.

“I work with the greatest group of nurses. All across the hospital, with it being a smaller facility, we interact with a lot of the other departments. When I started in November, I was blown away that people were on a first name basis with everyone. It really is a culture of caring here.”

Baby Rosalía went home with mom and dad on Sunday, July 1 and everyone is healthy and enjoying the first week of being a new family.

For Cybil, the offer to fulfil a family’s birth plan was straightforward, “I was just doing my job.”

At Door County Medical Center, comprehensive care is just down the road. To reach our Women’s Center, please call 920-746-3666.

da Vinci Robotic Surgery

Door County Medical Center is one of the top 20 critical access hospitals in the nation. More than a hospital, Door County Medical Center is an integrated health system providing the residents of Door and Kewaunee counties with state of the art technology and procedures, and top physicians.

There are 4 big ways Door County Medical Center brings state of the art technology to our community. #1 is da Vinci Robotic Surgery.

The da Vinci Surgical System is an advanced, robotic computer that uses 3-D technologies to assist your surgeon with an operation. It has been safely utilized by skilled surgeons since 2000, but not every hospital offers this state of the art technology. Earlier this year, Door County Medical hired Dr. St. Jean, whose practice includes all aspects of Minimally Invasive Surgery, endoscopy and robotic surgery. He brings years of experience with advanced robotic surgery to DCMC.

da Vinci Surgical System

“It’s the latest in advance robotic-assisted surgery and in minimally invasive procedures,” says Dr. St. Jean, “The da Vinci Xi makes it possible for surgeons to perform complex operations through small incisions—operations, which would otherwise require large incisions and long recuperation times.” The first “baptismal patient” to utilize daVinci assisted surgery for colon resection was home in two days, “I hate to jinx it, but it went very well,” says Dr. St. Jean.

da Vinci Surgical SystemThe robot’s mechanical wrists bend and rotate inside your body more effectively than a human wrist, resulting in a less invasive surgery. The surgeon is 100% in control of the robotic-assisted arms, which translates his/her hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of tiny instruments inside your body. The 3D-HD vision system provides surgeons a highly magnified view, virtually extending their eyes and hands into the patient.

Additionally, Dr. St. Jean points out that robotic-assisted surgery results in “decreased post-op pain. It gets the patient back to normal faster. Now that DCMC has one of these machines, Door County residents won’t have to travel to a major city for one of these procedures—we’re bringing the technological forefront to Door County.”

Soon, nearly all DCMC surgeons will be proficient in utilizing da Vinci technology. Dr. St. Jean is currently proctoring Dr. Scheer and Dr. Melarvie and works together with Intuitive Surgical representatives on their training. DCMC surgeons also receive additional training from the company off site through a standard curriculum.

Door County Medical Center is committed to continually bringing the most advanced technology to our community, but we never lose sight of the human connection that makes our hospital special. That’s why we are also committed to maintaining patient satisfaction scores in the 99th percentile, as we have, year after year.

Call to make an appointment for a consultation with one of our skilled surgeons today. (920) 746-1060

Introducing The Heartburn & Reflux Center at DCMC

Door County Medical Center is one of the top critical access hospitals in the nation. More than a hospital, Door County Medical Center is an integrated health system providing the residents of Door and Kewaunee counties with state of the art technology and procedures, and top physicians.

DCMC Heartburn and Reflux CenterThere are 4 big ways Door County Medical Center brings state of the art technology to our community. #2 is our Heartburn and Reflux Center.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), is a common disease impacting 40% of Americans that can lead to serious health consequences if it is not detected early. Heartburn (acid reflux) occurs when stomach contents backup, or reflux, into the esophagus. Heartburn is a painful, burning sensation that may radiate to the neck, throat, or along your jawline. If you experience heartburn more than twice a week, you may have GERD.

“Things like a chronic sore throat, persistent cough or hoarse voice are things that can occur from irritation of the gastric refluxate coming into the upper airway. One important alarm symptom is dysphasia which is trouble swallowing or food getting stuck, especially if it’s down in the lower chest. That has to be evaluated fairly quickly,” says Dr. Shaun J. Melarvie, M.D., F.A.C.S., “A dentist will sometimes find erosions of the enamel when they’re looking at teeth and will refer their patient back to the primary care provider for evaluation of reflux disease. I see that fairly commonly in my practice here at Door County Medical Center.”

Additional GERD Symptoms:

  • Asthma
  • Chest Pain
  • Excessive Salivation
  • Regurgitation
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Sensitive to some foods & liquids

Patients suffering from acid reflux can now benefit from state of the art diagnosis using the Bravo™ reflux testing system, which is an advanced technology that can help identify the cause of your symptoms. Bravo™ monitors acid content in your esophagus while you continue your regular daily activities and diet. The testing process is comfortable, and the results can help your doctor better understand your symptoms and make confident decisions about your treatment plan.

If your chronic acid reflux cannot be managed by medication or lifestyle changes, Door County Medical Center offers advanced treatment of heartburn with incisionless same-day surgery (TIF) and LINX, a small implant that can support acid suppression therapy.

“One of the newer technologies is called transoral incisionless fundoplication, also known as TIF. It’s a procedure that allows us to do a recreation of the valve between the stomach and the esophagus to help people that are suffering from acid reflux and can’t control their symptoms adequately with medications. What is so nice about the procedure is we can do this operation in less than an hour and with no incisions whatsoever. Many patients come off of their acid reflux medications altogether and stay off of them long term,” explains Kurtis D. Scheer, M.D., F.A.C.S.

The other advanced procedure available at DCMC’s Heartburn and Reflux Center is the LINX® Reflux Management System. It is a “bracelet” made of magnetic titanium beads implanted at the base of the esophagus to reinforce the weakened muscle that allows acid to splash back up. The device is implanted using a standard minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure. LINX is indicated for those patients diagnosed with GERD as defined by abnormal pH testing, and who are seeking an alternative to continuous acid suppression therapy.

“Thus far there have been good patient satisfaction scores with the results obtained for both the LINX® and TIF procedures. It is always important to consult with your doctor to find out which procedure is appropriate for you,” says Dr. Melarvie.

Call to make an appointment for a consultation with one of our skilled surgeons today. (920) 746-1060

Telestroke Robot Transforms Care for Rural Patients

Door County Medical Center is one of the top critical access hospitals in Wisconsin. More than a hospital, Door County Medical Center is an integrated health system providing Door and Kewaunee counties with state of the art technology and procedures, and top physicians.

High Tech Reason #3: Telestroke RobotThere are 4 big ways Door County Medical Center brings state of the art technology to our community. #3 is our Telestroke Robot. Yes, a Telestroke Robot.

Telestroke is telemedicine technology that connects stroke patients and their on-site emergency department physicians with board-certified neurologists, allowing for quicker diagnosis and treatment of stroke.Through live audio and video telecommunication, Telestroke allows a neurologist to be at a patient’s bedside within minutes of the patient arriving at the emergency department.

“When someone is having a stroke, every minute that passes before they receive appropriate medical care can impact their quality of life,” says Sandy Vandertie, Director of Emergency Services at DCMC. “This advanced technology connects the patient with a neurologist within minutes, improving outcomes and reducing the long-term impact of a stroke.”

Nearly 800,000 people have strokes in the U.S. each year, and most of those patients are experiencing stroke for the first time. During a stroke, an estimated two million brain cells die each minute meaning that the faster the response time, the better a stroke can be evaluated and treated, reducing or eliminating long-term disability and brain function loss.

Vanderite explains that after a patient arrives with stroke symptoms, the DCMC team begins a 60 minute gold standard process which they refer to as Code Stroke. “We bring a team of people that come together to manage you, including the neurologist via telestroke robot. The highest priority intervention to have done is a brain scan or CT scan. If we currently have someone in the CAT scanner, we prioritize the stroke patient. The goal is for us to have you in the CAT scanner within 25 minutes of arriving at the hospital. Next, a radiologist, coupled with our neurologist, both evaluate your CT scan. Within 45 minutes of your arrival here, a decision is made whether or not to put in an order for brain saving medicine.”

Living in a rural community should never exclude you from having the most advanced medical treatment possible. Our Telestroke technology empowers Door County Medical Center staff to improve patient care by offering state of the art medical services, right here in Door County.

State-of-the-Art Technology, Close to Home – Advanced Detection Methods

Door County Medical Center is one of the top 20 critical access hospitals in Wisconsin. More than a hospital, Door County Medical Center is an integrated health system providing the residents of Door and Kewaunee counties with state of the art technology and procedures, and top physicians.

High Tech Reason #4: Advanced Diagnostic Imaging

There are 4 big ways, Door County Medical Center brings state of the art technology to our community. #4 is our advanced detection methods.

At Door County Medical Center, we provide up close and advanced detection methods rarely offered in rural communities. With 3-D Mammography, MRI and CT scanning, we get the clearest possible internal images. This helps us detect irregularities early on, drastically improving your chances of recovery. Advanced detection is second only to prevention.

3-D Mammography imaging is a type of digital mammography that, instead of taking a flat 2D image of breast tissue, creates a 3D image from a composite formed of image layers. 3D mammography has been shown to detect 41% more invasive breast cancers, on average. As a result, there are fewer cancers missed and less invasive treatments. One common way to describe the process is to compare the 3D image to the pages of a book, allowing doctors to examine breast tissue layer by layer.

“I am incredibly excited that we have this technology,” says DCMC’s Diagnostic Imaging Director, Amanda Feldbruegge, “Because of the greater detail that 3D mammography provides, the early detection rate is far higher. So, we are going to be able to detect cancers much sooner, and at a much smaller size. As a result, doctors will be able to start treatment sooner—we can catch the disease at stage 1 rather than at stage 3 or 4.”

Even though it has been estimated that a woman born in the United States today has a 1 in 8 chance of developing some form of breast cancer during their lifetime, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100% when breast cancer is detected early.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the latest in cutting-edge technology, helping doctors diagnose and care for patients with needs including oncology, injuries and vascular issues. DCMC invested in a more comfortable and inclusive scanner in March 2017.

“Our MRI scanner is larger and more easily tolerated by claustrophobic patients,” says Donald Renfrew, radiologist at DCMC. “In addition, the new machine has improved the quality of the images. These improvements allow more confident diagnosis leading to better patient care.”

Patients agree that the combination of high-tech and personalized care make their experience stand out. “The new machine is less noisy than I had experienced in the past. It was very comfortable and I didn’t feel so confined. The technicians are always very nice, and that makes all the difference,” says patient Caroline Link.

CT Scanning technology uses 640 visual slices to provide the clearest possible images for doctors to diagnose patients by generating images that can be turned into three-dimensional pictures. Door County Medical Center was the third hospital in the United States to adopt the CT scan technology that reduces streaks from implanted metal such as rods and pacemakers. This enables doctors to diagnose patients with a variety of symptoms such as headache, chest pain and abdominal pain.

“This top-of-the-line scanner is both quicker and more comfortable for the patient, and reduces the radiation dose to the patient as well,” says Amanda Feldbruegge.

One of the unique abilities of the 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.”

At Door County Medical Center, our patients experience the peace of mind that comes with knowing the best possible early detection technology is available so close to home. “The combination of leading edge technology and compassionate care helps us provide the best possible outcomes for our patients,” says Feldbruegge.

It’s never too early to take a look at your health: schedule an appointment today!

Gotta Go, Right Now?

It might make you uncomfortable, but it’s time to talk about pelvic health. Pelvic health includes all things that are embarrassing to discuss, but important to address. Many are treatable! Things like:

  • Urinary leakage, frequency or urgency (incontinence)
  • Constipation
  • Pelvic pain
  • Diastasis rectus abdominus (when abdomen muscles divide postpartum)
  • Post-surgical weakness from abdominal surgery, hysterectomy or gynecological surgery
  • Scar tissue restrictions
  • Painful sex (a sign of muscles being too tight)
  • Pelvic prolapse (a sign of muscles being too loose)

While many of these symptoms and conditions are common, especially among the elderly and women who are or have recently been pregnant, incontinence is by far the most common.

Approximately 13 million Americans are incontinent: 85 percent of whom are women. Urinary incontinence can start early. It affects 4 out of 10 women, 1 out of 10 men and 17% of kids below the age of 15. 38% to 40% of women experience stress urinary incontinence and 41% of elite female athletes.

Pelvic health issues like these can have a negative impact emotionally, physically and financially. For example, someone who suffers with urinary incontinence may find it difficult to find suitable employment; embarrassing situations that reoccur can lead to isolation and eventually depression; running or aerobics become something to avoid when you suffer from incontinence.

Often, people go years or their whole lives powering through these daily struggles because they are too embarrassed to bring it up. The good news is that approximately 80 percent of those affected by urinary incontinence can be cured or improved.

Neuromuscular control is needed to create awareness of the contraction and relaxation of the pelvic muscles  and is a main goal of physical therapy.  An example of a treatment regimen includes Kegel muscle exercises emphasizing the ability to fully relax the muscles after a contraction. Patients would attend physical therapy sessions 1-2 days a week for about 2 months.

If incontinence is your issue, the thought of a car ride to Green Bay a couple times a week is anxiety inducing. Door County Medical Center has a team of physical therapists in Sturgeon Bay and Sister Bay who have participated in specialized training on adult pelvic health and pelvic floor muscles. These amazing physical therapists are prepared to listen to you with compassion and help you get back to living your life.

DCMC Physical TherapistsSister Bay: Lori Pothast, PT and Jen Gaddes, DPT. Sturgeon Bay: Crystal Pomeroy, DPT, Anna Deboer, DPT.

Patients are examined by one of our highly skilled physical therapists in a very discreet private treatment room. They provide education, home exercises and treatments to manage symptoms.

According to Lori Pothast, PT, “You don’t need to accept this as a way of life; there’s something you can do about it. Talk to your doctor. Mention that you are having problems. We can teach you muscular exercises over 6-8 weeks to improve control for the rest of your life. There are solutions.”

You deserve better! Talk to your primary physician today about physical therapy for pelvic health.

If you have any questions, contact DCMC Rehabilitation Services in Sister Bay (920-854-4111) or Sturgeon Bay (920-746-0410).

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.

Edge Fitness Academy – Creating healthy, lifelong habits

As kids grow up, they tend toward less physical activity. In fact, one Washington State survey found that while 80% of 6th graders said they regularly took part in vigorous physical activity, that number fell to 65% in 12th graders. Staying physically fit is always important at any age, but it is equally important that, as children become teenagers, they continue to remain active, building appropriate exercise habits as they go from middle school, to high school, and move into their adult lives.

When teens stay active, they reduce their chances of becoming overweight or obese, and developing other weight related problems—like diabetes or heart disease—down the line. Additionally, physical activity has been shown to elevate mood and mental focus. By staying active, teenagers decrease the risk of developing mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, and academic performance tends to improve.

Door County Medical Center (DCMC) has long been committed to promoting, supporting and maintaining the health and wellness of Door County teens and student athletes. Part of our support for that community takes shape in our desire to keep kids active during the summer months, so for the past decade, Edge Fitness Academy, powered by DCMC, has worked to provide middle school and high school students with high quality athletic and fitness training during the long summer break.

Edge Fitness Academy

Edge Fitness Academy is a 6-week, sports performance summer camp that brings DCMC’s experienced team of Athletic Trainers directly to every one of the Door County high schools. Originally called Athletic Edge, Edge Fitness Academy started in 2008, and since that time, has been dedicated to “educating, empowering, and challenging the next generation in health, fitness, and athletics.” In 2013, Edge director Jason Linzmeier joined the team and immediately began to expand the program. “I came out of college with a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and a Strength and Conditioning minor,” Linzmeier says, “and I saw what Athletic Edge was offering, and I thought ‘this is great, but we can take this up a notch.’ So now, we’ve moved from basic cardio and band exercises to high intensity cardio and full-body, multi-plane exercises that mimic the requirements of certain sports. Last year, for example, we finally got the kids into the weight room and started them on a regimented, progressive, weight training program.”

Edge: Essential and Elite

Edge Fitness Academy offers two programs. Edge: Essential is the core program. It focuses on strength, agility and speed. “Essential is 45 minutes in the varsity sports gym,” says Linzmeier, “focusing on strength training through body weight and locomotion—push-ups, sit-ups, jump-squats, squats, lunges, and things of that nature. If it’s a nice day, we’ll do 45 minutes on the track—the mile-long runs, the more cardio/endurance based activities. And, Essential is more time oriented—for example, ‘how many can reps can you do in 30 seconds. Okay, keep that score in mind, now try to beat your own personal score.’ That way these kids are always looking to push themselves—they’re not comparing themselves to someone else.” Essential provides a baseline of knowledge and is available to both middle school and high school students.

Edge: Elite is an additional 45 minutes following the Essential program, and is an advanced program for student athletes that want to take their game to the next level. Elite focuses primarily on high intensity weight training. “We try to keep it pretty basic,” Linzmeier adds. “Between the ages of 14 and 18, there’s a pretty big gap in levels of knowledge and maturity, so I’m not going crazy with a bunch of different styles. Essentially, I’m trying to find one style that’s good for every sport out there—I’m trying to cast the biggest net I can.” Because weightlifting first requires a certain level of knowledge that is provided by the Essential program, and because weight training can damage growth plates in young children, Elite is available only to high school students.

Edge: an opportunity and a learning experience

“I talk to the kids in high school all the time,” says Linzmeier, “and they say they don’t have a coach to help in the weight room, or a long-term class that teaches them how to lift weights. Often, when I initially enter the weight room with these kids, I see two things: that they’re not getting the most out of a lift because of poor technique, and the way they lift could lead to injuries. So, I view Edge as an opportunity—as a learning experience for the kids that sign up. They learn how to lift the right way, how to get the most out of their exercise experience, and how to manage a weight room. More than that, we’re teaching them appropriate exercise habits that they can use for the rest of their life—that will help keep them healthy and happy.”

Dates and Times

Athletic Edge Fitness Academy

Click to view Edge Fitness Academy poster

Edge Fitness Academy begins Monday, June 11th and ends Friday, July 20th. All sessions will meet in the varsity gym of the school you signed up for.

  • Southern Door and Sturgeon Bay sessions are held Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Southern Door from 7:00 – 8:30AM and Sturgeon Bay from 9:30 – 11:00AM.
  • Gibraltar and Sevastopol sessions are held Tuesday and Thursday. Gibraltar from 7:00 – 8:30AM and Sevastopol from 9:30 – 11:00AM.
  • General Registration begins March 17th, 2018 and ends June 10th, 2018 at 11:59PM (CST).
  • Early registration begins March 1st, 2018 and ends March 16th, 2018 at 11:59PM (CST). Register early to receive $10.00 off your final purchase price.

Note: All registration for Edge Fitness Academy will take place online at There is no offline registration. For more information, please visit:, call Jason Linzmeier at 920.746.0410, or email him at

“My Experience at Door County Medical Center was a Beautiful Experience”: Why One Nurse Decided to Join Our Team at the Birthing Center

Giving birth to your first child is one of the most exciting and profound experiences anyone will go through during their lifetime. For one of our newest labor nurses, her experience giving birth to her first child at our Birthing Center was so positive that she decided she wanted to work at Door County Medical Center. The following interview recounts her experiences at the Birthing Center, both as a mother and as a labor nurse. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

My name is Jessica Skinner and I’m a Registered Nurse working in the Birthing Center at Door County Medical Center. I’m also an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. So, I fill two roles here in the Birthing Center.

I initially trained at Aurora Sinai in Milwaukee and actually started as a post-partum aid. While there, I was able to work with some excellent lactation consultants as well as several really wonderful nurses. And at Aurora Sinai, they have their birthing center split into labor/delivery and post-partum, so following my training as a post-partum aid; I cross-trained over onto labor and delivery. It was a more high risk, high volume hospital, but also a good place to learn.

What brought you to Door County Medical Center?

My parents are from the Door County area, so following my training in Milwaukee, I moved back home and started working at Aurora Bay Care in Green Bay as a labor nurse. Again, it was a big place, many wonderful people—a lot more patients than we typically see in Door County—but also a great place to learn and get my feet wet. And then, I had my baby right here in this very room [where we are doing the interview] and I was so taken with the level of care that I received—that was available here—that I was blown away. So, I think my son was almost a year old when I decided to come to Door County Medical Center, and I have not regretted a day of it.

What about your experience at DCMC’s Birthing Center, thus far, has so impressed you?

At DCMC, we don’t have the patient volume that my previous hospitals did—the nurses here typically don’t have four mom-baby couplets that they are taking care of at one time, usually it’s just one or two. Sometimes you might even be the only mom-baby group here. What that translates to is a lot more personal care for our patients, and of course patients really appreciate that—as a patient at DCMC, that level of personal care really blew me away.

But more than that, nurses at DCMC also really appreciate the low nurse-to-patient ratio, because we typically get into this profession for the hands-on, bedside caring. I feel that, instead of going through tasks and just providing safe-care, what we really provide is personal care—we’re teaching men and women and their new babies how to become families. We spend a lot of time answering their questions; letting patients get comfortable with new tasks—we’re kind of standing by for moral support and talking over all the fears you have as a new parent and all the joys you can expect too. We do a really good job of preparing people for becoming parents.

And that preparation actually starts well before people even get to the birthing center. We provide pre-natal breast-feeding classes, which I teach once a month. We also teach prepared childbirth classes, which are held six times a year. We really try to cultivate long-term relationships with families in this community.

When you were in labor was there a specific moment or positive experience that you could point to as “eye-opening,” with regard to the high level of care you received at DCMC’s Birthing Center?

Yes, a couple of memories. This maybe sounds odd considering I’m a labor and delivery nurse, but I was actually really nervous about labor—it was a strange feeling for me to be on the other side. So, I remember that Barb Severinsen, who was my labor nurse during the day, knew that I was a labor nurse, so she turned the monitor away from me so I couldn’t see it, and turned down the volume so I couldn’t hear it. This little thing was really important, because what I really didn’t want was to be my own labor nurse, and she picked up on that. We [labor nurses] tend to calculate the baby’s heart rate in our heads, and Barb could tell I was listening to the monitor and was not fully focused on being in labor.

I also remember laboring in the bathroom after my water broke, and Barb just standing with me there for what felt like hours. I just put my arms around her—Barb’s not a very tall woman, so she’s kind of a perfect height—and I remember hugging her and saying “Barb, don’t leave me,” and Barb just stroking my hair and saying “I won’t. I’m going to stay right here with you.” So, yeah, every step of the way, my experience at DCMC was a beautiful experience. And especially for me, because being a labor nurse, you go into it knowing all of the bad things that can happen, and I didn’t think about that once after I arrived at the Birthing Center.

Is there was a single aspect—a service perhaps—you can point to, which is representative of the high quality of care you are able to provide at the Birthing Center?

One of the services we offer at DCMC, which is really important—and is hospital-wide, but I feel is especially important for our department—is we always follow up with a phone call.  Once a person leaves the hospital, one of the nurses from the unit they were in—often the nurse that took care of them—will call them within one or two days of discharge. Sometimes there is so much going on it’s difficult to make all of the new information stick. Often, people will go home and think, “I can’t remember what she said about this; I can’t remember when I’m supposed to do that.” The follow-up call provides a nice opportunity to reconnect and check in on the patient—people won’t always ask for help, but when it’s freely offered people tend to be a lot more open to it. And that phone call is especially important in a postpartum unit, because everything changes, hour by hour with a newborn, especially when it’s your first baby. That phone call is very different from other places I’ve worked. It opens up a dialog between labor nurses and new moms that can lasts for years—it’s something special that we get to do at DCMC.

For more information on the Birthing Center at Door County Medical Center please visit us online at: or call us at (920) 743-5566.

Family Nurse Practitioner Ellen Knipfer is Coming to the Algoma Clinic

Ellen Knipfer, Family Nurse Practitioner

Ellen Knipfer, Family Nurse Practitioner

Door County Medical Center is excited to announce that Ellen Knipfer, Family Nurse Practitioner at our Sturgeon Bay Clinic, has started accepting patients at the Algoma Clinic. Ms. Knipfer is bringing over a decade’s worth of diverse experience to the clinic, having previously worked on the Medical/Surgical Unit at DCMC, then in Infection Prevention and Employee Health, and more recently serving as Director of the ICU and the Medical/Surgical Unit.

Now, Ellen is looking forward to working with the Algoma community to make the kind of choices that lead to a healthier and more fulfilling life. “After more than 10 years at DCMC, I decided to leave my job as director after completing a Master’s Degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner. I’m really glad that I made that decision, because after working in internal medicine, I saw a lot of chronic illness. Now, I feel I am better positioned to help my patients make the lifestyle changes that I feel they need to make in order to address, and hopefully prevent, those illnesses.”

It’s about education

“It’s about getting off the couch,” says Ellen, “it’s about getting out from behind the computer; it’s about changing eating habits. In general, it’s really about education, and nurses really are educators. So, one of the things I’m interested in bringing to the Algoma clinic is education—I want to teach people how, on a daily basis, to make the kinds of simple choices that will positively effect their overall health.”

Beyond that, Ellen is interested in getting involved in the Algoma community. “I’m looking forward to the move,” she says, “and I’m looking forward to finding out what kinds of healthy lifestyle changes are needed in the community, and how best to effect those changes.”

Ellen Knipfer, APNP, started seeing patients at the Algoma Clinic on Monday, January 29th. To make an appointment please call (920) 487-3496. Door County Medical Center’s Algoma Clinic is located at 815 Jefferson Street in downtown Algoma.