Carol Shabbit: Helping Patients Live Independently Each Day

As an occupational therapist at Ministry, Carol Shabbit works to help patients function better in their day-to-day tasks. Find out why Carol loves what she does.

What exactly does an occupational therapist do?

Occupational therapy is very functionally based. When we assess a patient we want to know: Can you do things you did before? Without pain? Do you need tools to help you? How can we help you organize your home so it’s safe and functional? We help people with the skills they need for daily, independent living.



What kinds of patients do you see?

As the only occupational therapist in Northern Door, I see a wide variety: home health, nursing home, and outpatient. I’m part of the Memory Clinic staff, and I help patients with cognitive needs like using a calendar to remember to take medications or providing tools to help them deal with their day-to-day finances. I also do driver screens to help determine if someone is still safe to drive. That’s a useful tool for families and to help keep us all safe. It can be a relief for people to help identify what they can and can’t do, so we can help them get the assistance they need.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

It’s fulfilling seeing people improve and get function back, to keep them in their homes or get them back into their homes. I also enjoy the varied caseload we see here in Sister Bay. I like being able to move around. No two days are alike! I have a great group of co-workers who are very motivated and supportive. And with our beautiful new clinic, it’s really a joy coming to work.


Angel Ball Raises Funds to Educate Future Health Care Professionals

On Saturday, December 5, the Door County Medical Center Auxiliary will host the annual Angel Ball at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club. The event, which raises funds for scholarships awarded annually to those in the health care field, is open to all.

“Last year, we awarded 21 $1,000 scholarships to Door and Kewaunee County high school students, local professionals pursuing continuing education credits in health-related fields such as pharmacy and dental, and Ministry Door County Medical Center (MDCMC) employees pursuing professional development,” says Deb Hogan, president-elect of the Auxiliary board and event co-chair. “The cost of education, including health care education, is significant and we are proud to be able to contribute to those costs and help foster a high level of skill and professionalism in our local health care workers.”

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Attendees will be treated to a special chance to hear directly from scholarship beneficiaries in a yet-to-be-unveiled format. The ball also features a 50/50 drawing, cash sweepstakes, cocktails, dinner and dancing to a live band.

“This event is always great fun,” says Hogan, “and a chance for our community to come out and learn more about how the Auxiliary supports MDCMC’s goal of providing quality health care, close to home. We invite one and all to join us!”

The event begins at 6 p.m. and concludes after dancing at midnight. Tickets cost $75 and are on sale until December 1. To purchase tickets, call the Door County Medical Center Foundation at (920) 746-1071.


Ministry Seeks Great Employees

Ministry Door County Medical Center (MDCMC) is seeking great employees who want to put patients first at a top-rated rural hospital and clinic. MDCMC, located in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, is a fully accredited, acute-care hospital and outpatient medical center, with 25 licensed beds. The hospital offers a full range of services and specialties, including home health, rehab services and a skilled nursing facility, with more than 175 physicians and patient care representatives on staff. A variety of positions become available on a regular basis. Click here to find the latest postings.

Two Nurses Discussing Patient Notes At Nurses Station

MDCMC is located in the heart of Door County, Wisconsin, known to visitors as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest” for its miles of shoreline and stunning natural beauty. Door County is also a cultural gem, with many arts, music and theater organizations that serve year-round residents as well as the thousands of visitors who flock to the county during the tourist season. Five public school districts and several private schools also serve the county.

“What I love about Ministry is the culture of caring,” says Skye Reynolds, Human Resources director who grew up in Door County, left the area, but moved back to raise her family and work at MDCMC. Reynolds points to the fact that not only does Ministry provide outstanding medical care – it was rated a top 100 critical access hospital for five years running – but is also leading the health and wellness of the community by supporting silent sporting events, providing school nursing and athletic training services in schools, supporting the arts, and offering health and education outreach to people of all ages.

MDCMC is committed to the the well-being of its employees and their families through membership partnerships with local fitness and health organizations. Employee health is also supported through on-site fitness classes, weight loss journey programs, and healthy eating in the hospital cafeteria.

“At Ministry, we seek excellence is everything we do,” says Reynolds. “From greeting everyone we meet in the hallway, to partnering with local non-profits to support our community, to analyzing patient experience and constantly improving it, we’ve developed our own internal Door Way to Excellence program. We recognize the value of every single employee as we seek to provide a caring, compassionate and first-rate experience for every patient.”

Ministry Door County Medical Center is an equal opportunity employer. Please visit our career opportunity page and enter the keywords “Door County” to learn more.


Barb Landowski: Talking People Through

Working with people has always come naturally to Barb Landowski, RN and team member in the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation department at Ministry Door County Medical Center.  “I love to talk,” she laughs. She gets to do a lot of talking, and listening, while working with patients in her domain, the Cardiac Stress lab. “I really enjoy putting my patients at ease through humor and getting to know them.”

“Stress makes people’s heart rates go up,” she explains. “It’s my job to help them feel welcome and at ease.” Barb does this by developing relationships with her patients from the very first phone call where they schedule their stress test. “I get to answer their questions, and explain what we’ll be doing and why. By the time they arrive at the lab, I feel I already know them.”


There’s a knock at the door and Barb greets one of her patients by name, then gives her a big hug. “How are you doing?” she says, with a huge smile. Barb comes by her hometown hospitality naturally, having graduated from Southern Door High School. After a stint in nursing school and nursing in Wausau, Barb returned to Door County to be close to family and raise her children. She has been working at MDCMC for 28 years.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes since I started in what was then a very small intensive care unit,” she says. “Then I worked with Dr. Hogan to start the Pulmonary Rehab Program. Now we have a state-of-the-art rehab facility where we can see upwards of 20 patients a day.” The program serves patients with lung problems including transplants, as well as patients who’ve had heart valve surgery, coronary artery bypass grafts, or a heart attack.

For Barb, providing one-on-one care in the form of rehab and stress testing allows her to get to know patients. “I’m very intuitive,” she says. “I can feel when something isn’t right with a patient, and then I work with my team and the doctors to make sure we’re giving them what they need.”

Barb also enjoys the opportunity to meet patients who’ve never been to Ministry before. “We get referrals for stress tests from people in the community, and it’s great to be able to educate them about all the resources we have at our hospital: specialty services like cardiology and urology, our Women’s and Children’s Center, and so much more. I feel confident that our hospital is comparable to others in bigger areas. We go above and beyond in our care, and to make people feel comfortable here.”

Barb is also active in the community, volunteering at Ministry community events and spending time raising foster dogs. And, of course, making new friends. “Within ten minutes, most people are not a stranger to me,” she smiles.


My Best Interests at Heart: Inge Bacon and Dr. Tomasz Michalski

As a full-time accountant and business owner and an avid volunteer in the community, Inge Bacon has never been one to linger at her doctor’s office. “My husband, Lee, goes into the doctor’s office with a list of questions,” she laughs. “Not me. I want to get in, and get out.” But her relationship with her primary care physician, Dr. Tomasz Michalski, has changed that. “Dr. Michalski takes the time to explain the matter at hand to me,” she says. “He knows it’s important for me to have the best information so I can make my own health care decisions. I appreciate that.”

Since moving to Door County in 1979, Inge says she has never been disappointed with the care she has received at Ministry. “At this point, when I’m looking at insurance, I won’t buy it if Ministry is not in network,” she says.

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Care at Ministry has been a family affair. Inge’s mother, a nurse in Cincinnati, wasn’t originally convinced that health care in a smaller community could measure up to big city standards. “Then once when she was visiting, she fell and broke her hip. After receiving care at Ministry, she changed her tune. She realized what a gem this hospital is, and what excellent staff we have here.” Inge’s father suffered a heart attack while visiting Door County. “Both he and my mother were very pleased with the care he received.”

For Dr. Michalski, getting to know his patients and their needs, lifestyle and preferences is important. “As primary care physicians, we have the ability to help people treat disease, but also to prevent disease in the first place. We do this by listening to our patients and helping them make good choices for their own health.” He also enjoys living and working in the same community as his patients. “I see my patients at the grocery store, at the Y, at the park. I get to know them as people, and this makes a difference in the care I provide.”

Inge says the warmth of the clinic is also critical. “I feel the compassionate culture at Ministry from everyone I meet,” she says. “People greet you in the hallway, they take responsibility for helping you find your way. It makes me feel like I’m not just another person in the waiting room. I feel welcome.”

“It comes down to trust” she says. “I’m confident that I get the information that I need, the best information there is, from Dr. Michalski and the staff at Ministry. I’m confident he will provide the tests and procedures that are necessary, not ones that aren’t. And I know he has my best interests at heart. I trust the care I receive at Ministry.”


Ministry’s Certified Application Counselors Help Local Residents Access Health Insurance

With deadlines fast approaching to enroll in health insurance for 2016 through the Affordable Care Act, Ministry Door County Medical Center’s four Certified Application Counselors (CACs) are busy serving the community by helping people access the system, obtain information on health plans, and get signed up. For coverage starting January 1, 2016, people must select a health plan by December 15, 2015. Enrollment remains open through January 31, 2016.

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There are many options for health insurance in the marketplace, and three plans that include Ministry Door County Medical Center (MDCMC) in network: Molina Healthcare of Wisconsin, Dean Health Plan/Prevea 360 and United Healthcare. “We’ve been very busy working with individuals as well as providing enrollment workshops for the community,” says Keith Volkmann, CAC and Unit Leader of Financial Counseling at MDCMC. “We are proud that as CACs, we see people through the process of enrollment from start to finish, helping them understand the differences between plans and making sure they apply for the tax credits they are eligible for.”

Individuals can enroll on their own through, but according to Volkmann, many people appreciate the individualized counseling the team at MDCMC provides. “There are many steps in enrolling, and many choices out there,” he says.  “As leaders of our community’s health and wellness, it behooves us to make sure our community members are enrolled in health insurance, no matter which provider they choose.”

The next open enrollment workshop takes place on December 2 from 2 – 7 p.m. at MDCMC’s Sturgeon Bay clinic. To schedule an individual appointment or to obtain more information, call (920) 746-3775.


Ministry Employees Pay it Forward to Support Children Undergoing Cancer Treatment

For Shelly Krueger, an employee in Ministry’s IT department, her partner Troy Hartl, and their son Chase, it’s been a challenging year. Chase, age 4, was diagnosed with leukemia and required treatment at St. Vincent’s pediatric oncology unit. “Every time he was admitted, the nurses always had a stuffed animal waiting for him on his bed,” says Shelly. “It didn’t take away the fact that he was in the hospital, but the anticipation of what would be waiting for him was something to look forward to. It made it a little easier.”

Shelly says she and Troy have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from family, friends and co-workers throughout Chase’s cancer journey. “We knew we wanted to pay it forward,” she says. Since a new stuffed animal always brought a smile to her son’s face, Shelly brought forth the idea of a toy drive to the Mission and Values team at Ministry, a group charged with implementing the hospital’s ideals through service projects in the community.

Chase, with some of the stuffed animals donated by Ministry employees.

Chase, with some of the stuffed animals donated by Ministry employees.

“It was a natural fit,” says Susan Johnson, hospital chaplain and chairperson of the Mission and Values team, who helped organize the drive. “And St. Vincent’s is part of our Door County Cancer Center team here at Ministry,” she adds, “so all the more reason for us to help support their work and mission.”

The stuffed animal drive has been met with a tremendous outpouring of support. In just one week, more than two hundred stuffed animals were donated by Ministry employees, with dozens more given by employees of Sturgeon Bay Utilities, where Troy works. The family will deliver the toys this month to the pediatric oncology unit at St. Vincent’s. “The timing couldn’t be more perfect,” says Shelly. “The staff there just told us that they were running low on stuffed animals, so the donation comes at the right time.”

For Shelly, the most fulfilling part of her efforts has been seeing her colleagues pull together to support children who, as she knows so well, need a little extra reason to smile. And Chase? “He’s just so excited that everyone wants to help. And he’s very proud to be delivering all these toys!”


Trust and Respect: Shirley Senarighi and Dr. Leslie Hansen

Shirley Senarighi has been a patient at Ministry Door County Medical Center since 1978, when she and her husband Rudy moved to the county and she was pregnant with their first child. “We were quick to find physicians we could trust and easily communicate with. That was when we first established long-term relationships with our doctors at Ministry.”

As an educator, Shirley influenced and cared for generations of children during her years as a guidance counselor and elementary principal in Sturgeon Bay. Post retirement, she has continued to be a leader in the community through her involvement with local organizations such as the American Red Cross, League of Women Voters, Door County Civility Project and PFLAG.


But at Ministry’s Women’s Center, the tables are turned. “Women tend to spend so much of their time caring for others,” she says. “The Women’s Center gives that back to us. I simply feel cared for when I’m there.” Shirley also has a trusted relationship with her primary care provider, Dr. Kelton Reitz. “I love how the doctors all work together here – they know what my needs are.”

Her longstanding relationship her OB/Gyn Dr. Leslie Hansen, 13 years running, is based on mutual trust and respect. “Dr. Hansen is an exceptional listener. When I’m with her, I know she is fully present and focused on me. I’m so impressed with the care I’ve received from her and the entire team of doctors and nurses at the Women’s Center. I’m comfortable sharing my questions and concerns, and I’ve only been given empathic care.”

Following a recent surgery at Ministry, it was nearly midnight when Shirley had a question about something she was experiencing. “Dr. Hansen was immediately accessible to answer my questions, and I got excellent care throughout my stay, and beyond.”

For Dr. Hansen, the feeling of respect is mutual. “Living and working in this community has given me the opportunity to get to know my patients even better,” she says. “Through my children, church and other involvements, I’ve gotten to know many of my patients as friends and neighbors, too. I first met Shirley when she was my children’s principal. They loved her! I’m so pleased that I’ve been able to help her successfully navigate some health challenges and live her life to the fullest.”

Shirley says she and her husband, now both retired, could go anywhere for health care, but they choose Ministry because of the quality of care. “The people at Ministry know me, and they know my history. I believe those relationships lead to better care. These are people we know and trust.”


American Diabetes Month Spotlights Prevention

November is National Diabetes Month. It’s also Thanksgiving, a time when Americans typically load their tables – and their plates – with a variety of foods. Ministry’s expert nutritional team can help you learn how to prepare and plan for delicious, nutritious meals that satisfy and also keep you healthy.

Carmen Schroeder, RDN, CDE is a certified diabetes educator. Along with her colleague, Ruth Norton, RN, CDE she works with primary care providers to offer diabetes education to patients, both one-on-one or in diabetes education classes. “It’s very fulfilling to help people, whether they’ve been dealing with a diabetes diagnosis for years or are newly diagnosed, to be the healthiest they can while still enjoying one of life’s great pleasures –food.”

Ministry Door County Medical Center is the only diabetes education program in the state recognized by the American Diabetes Association. “Our trained experts help patients with the three most important aspects of diabetes management: diet and managing carbohydrate intake, exercise and physical activity, and self-monitoring,” says Schroeder.

With more than 30 million Americans living with Diabetes, and 86 million managing prediabetes, it’s more important than ever to be aware of ways to manage and prevent this disease.

“Eating well is one of life’s greatest pleasure, and enjoying healthy, delicious food helps with diabetes management,” says Schroeder. “In addition to a healthy meal, why not make an after-dinner walk, hike or outdoor game part of your routine?”

MDCMC will offer a diabetes education course in December.  Taught by Certified Diabetes Instructors, the course is a series of three one-hour classes with topics including setting nutrition goals: carbs and diabetes, heart healthy dining, and understanding and managing your diabetes.  For more information, call 746-0510.


Krista Keck: Expertise and Experience

Krista Keck is a physical therapist at Ministry’s Sister Bay Rehab Clinic. Read more about Krista’s interests and love for her job.

You’re a very experienced therapist. Tell us about your career.

I have more than 25 years experience as a therapist. I have special training in neurology, helping people with vestibular issues, dizziness and balance. There are so many reasons people can experience dizziness. Some need medication, others can be treated with physical therapy. It’s very fulfilling to be able to help people manage or overcome these issues.


Why do you enjoy working at the Sister Bay Clinic?

Like many Door County residents, I developed a love for this area by visiting here. My parents honeymooned in Door County! I love that we can treat all kinds of patients here for issues as varied as stroke, post-surgery, injury or therapy following cancer treatment or heart surgery. We work with everyone from high school athletes to our geriatric patients at Scandia.

What keeps you interested in your work?

It’s funny, after working as a therapist for many years, I got into health care administration for a while. It was okay, but I really wanted to get back to working with patients. It’s really all about the people.

To make an appointment at the Sister Bay Rehab Clinic, call (920) 854-4111.