Kris Braker, Family Nurse Practitioner - a lifelong love of healthcare brings her home

Kris Braker, Family Nurse Practitioner A lifelong love of healthcare brings her home to care for the community

From the time she was a little girl growing up on the family farm, Kris Braker, Family Nurse Practitioner at the Prairie Ridge Health Clinic in Marshall, knew she wanted to be a nurse.

“Whenever we had a down cow, our vet would give them a dose of glucose intravenously, and I would serve as the IV pole,” Kris humored. “Many of my family members are nurses, so it has always been something I have been interested in as a career.”

Kris lived on a farm just 11 miles north of Columbus. She attended Randolph Schools and graduated from Randolph High School. From there, she went on to the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and entered the school of nursing.

“I worked at Waupun Hospital for about a year and then went back to Milwaukee to work at St. Michael’s Hospital, where I stayed for 10 years,” she explained.

During that time, Kris’ oldest niece was born with serious health issues. “I realized that family was more important and moved back to the Columbus area. I began working at Columbus Community Hospital in the emergency and surgery departments,” she said.

In 2001, Kris went back to school to pursue her Master’s degree and become a nurse practitioner. She graduated in 2006 and landed a position at a rural health clinic in Wisconsin, where she practiced as a Family Nurse Practitioner. “I chose this career so I could assist families in navigating the healthcare system, making for a more positive experience.”

In 2016, Kris heard about a clinic opening in Marshall and saw it as an opportunity to come back home. The clinic opened in 2017 and Kris was instantly a part of the community. She became a member of the Marshall Lions Club and the Marshall Area Business Association. “As a medical provider, being involved in the community is important because you can help direct and guide the health of the community as a whole,” said Kris. “Being involved is also a great way to get to know the people you are caring for.”

“I truly believe in a community clinic – a place where people stop in and share their story so that we get to know the whole person and how they fit into their community,” she added.

Kris sees patients from age newborn to geriatrics and has a special interest in chronic disease management. She offers clinic hours in Marshall Monday through Thursday and sees patients at the Prairie Ridge Health Clinic in Columbus on Fridays.

To schedule an appointment at the Prairie Ridge Health Clinic or for questions regarding insurance, call 608-655-8181.

Support and guidance offered for cancer patients and caregivers

Two support groups are available to cancer patients and their support persons through Columbus Community Hospital and the American Cancer Society. Cathy Butterbrodt, RNC, CBPN-I; ONC, Breast Health Nurse Specialist and Cancer Navigation Specialist at Columbus Community Hospital coordinates both groups.

Look Good Feel Better, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, is a two-hour class aimed at teaching women (who are going through cancer) about skin care, make up, wigs, scarves, turbans, and nail care. The session is led by a trained cosmetologist, Brenda Swaagman.

“Each participant receives a kit that is customized to their skin tone,” explained Butterbrodt. “It is a fun laid back class, specific to women who have had or are currently going through cancer treatment.”

Butterbrodt said that when women are going through cancer, their skin goes through a lot of changes. “The session provides you with a fun way to rejuvenate and feel good about yourself.”

Women learn how to put on eyebrows that they have lost, moisturize their skin, and put on your makeup.

“When people leave the class, they are all made up, ready to rock and take on the town,” said Butterbrodt.

“The experience gives you some control over what is going on with your body. It allows you to take control of yourself in an uncontrollable situation,” said Butterbrodt. “It’s also provides interaction with other women that are experiencing the same challenges.”

For more information or to register for the Look Good Feel Better program, call Cathy at 920-623-6434.

Look Good Feel Better – Helping Women with Cancer Sponsored by the American Cancer Society

Tuesdays, 6-8 p.m. at Columbus Community Hospital in the Emerald Room

September 11

November 13

RSVP Required.

Please call Cathy at 920 623-6434

A cancer support group, sponsored by Columbus Community Hospital and hosted at the Columbus Public Library is open to men and women who are going through cancer or are in remission and their support persons.

“We often have speakers come in and discuss specific topics,” said Butterbrodt. “I try to deep it upbeat so that we can learn how to better ourselves during a difficult time.”

Butterbrodt explained that those who attend the support group are all in different stages of their journey. Some may have been just diagnosed, some may be going through treatment and some may be in remission.

“I have some group participants who have been in remission for 5 or 6 years. They feel that they can add to the group or may need support themselves,” said Butterbrodt. “Sharing your experiences gives you a sense of being helped and helping others.”

Group participants are not required to register or attend on a regular basis and are not required to talk or share information. “They can just come and listen, if they would like,” said Butterbrodt.

The group is also beneficial for support people so they have a better understanding of what their loved one is dealing with during their journey.

Butterbrodt encourages anyone who has questions about the group to call her at 920-623-6434.

Cancer Support Group

Thursdays, 6:00pm-7:00pm

Columbus Library Ground Floor Meeting Room, located at 223 W. James St., Columbus, WI 53925

October 11

December 13

Please call Cathy at 920 623-6434 with any questions.

Join us for a Diabetes and Wellness Support Group June 20

Our monthly support group is open to anyone interested in learning about diabetes and wellness. Those attending do not need to be diagnosed with diabetes.

The groups meet the third Wednesday of each month from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. in the Diamond Room at Columbus Community Hospital. For more information contact Rachel Selm, RDN, CD at 920-623-1293 or

Carol Black receives RWHC Rural Health Ambassador Award

RWHC Rural Health Ambassador Award presented to Carol Black of Columbus Community Hospital

The Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC) presented the Rural Health Ambassador Award to Carol Black, Clinical Laboratory Scientist, on June 7 at Columbus Community Hospital (CCH).

The award recognizes health care employees at RWHC hospitals who have gone above the call of duty in promoting their respective organizations, while making significant contributions to rural health. Each recipient demonstrates a history of fostering positive communication and relations within the hospital's respective service area by: serving on community boards/service organizations; taking advantage of volunteer opportunities; and supporting community health activities beyond the scope of the hospital.

“Carol has been an employee of CCH for 52 years,” said Heather Alvarez, CCH Laboratory Services Manager. “Throughout this time she has demonstrated her strong commitment to CCH and the community.”

Black began her career at CCH in 1966 at age 23 when she accepted a position as head Laboratory Medical Technologist at Columbus Community Hospital, then located at 633 West James Street in Columbus.

In addition to her efforts in the laboratory, Black has served as a member of the Volunteers of Columbus Community Hospital for 50 years, with several years in leadership roles as president, vice president, and gift shop manager.

“Carol is a strong advocate of the Volunteers of Columbus Community Hospital and rural healthcare. She understands the importance of the overall knowledge of rural health in general and shares this knowledge with others.” said Patti Walker, CCH Community Relations and Volunteer Coordinator. “Carol’s upbeat attitude and commitment to rural health is contagious. She sets a strong example for others to remain positive through the ever-changing world of healthcare.”

Incorporated in 1979, the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative receives national recognition as one of the country's earliest and most successful models for networking among rural hospitals. RWHC serves as a catalyst for regional collaboration and as an aggres­sive, creative force on behalf of rural communi­ties and rural health. Owned and operated by 29 acute, medical-surgical hospitals, RWHC offers its members a wide range of shared services that meet local community health needs, including: staffing, consulting, management, networking and education. Columbus Community Hospital is an active member of RWHC; their employees support the shared mission of “strengthening and sustaining rural health”.

Guardian of Excellence Award for Physician Engagement

CCH’s success relies on engagement from all areas of the patient care team, including the medical providers. In 2017, CCH was one of only five hospitals nationwide to receive the Guardian of Excellence Award for Physician Engagement.

Press Ganey, a leading provider of patient team engagement benchmarks, presented CCH the award in recognition of achieving and maintaining a score in the 97th percentile in the nation in overall provider engagement. The accomplishment places CCH amidst an elite group of 3% of healthcare organizations in the nation.


CCH receives Women's Choice Award

Columbus Community Hospital (CCH) is one of 17 Wisconsin hospitals to receive the 2018 Women’s Choice Award for obstetrics.

“The Women’s Choice Award has identified America’s Best Hospitals across the nation to help women make smart healthcare choices,” said Rachel Svendsen, CCH Manager of Women’s and Childbirth Services. “Women account for 90% of all healthcare decisions for themselves and their family. We are honored to be among the elite in patient satisfaction in obstetrics.”

According to the Women’s Choice Award organization, the America’s Best Hospitals for Obstetrics scoring process is unique in that it is the only national list that is evidence-based and focuses on female patient satisfaction. Awarded hospitals ranked above the national average for patient recommendations, as indicated by the data reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys.

In order to determine those hospitals to be recognized, the organization uses the most recent publicly available information from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as accreditation information from appropriate sources.

Columbus Community Hospital is located at 1515 Park Avenue in Columbus, WI. For more information visit or call 920-623-2200. For a full list of 2018 Women’s Choice Award recipients visit

Start the year right with these helpful hints from our Nutrition Services team!

Pictured (l-r) Rachel Selm, RD, CD; Sara Zook, RD, CD; Jessica Davidson, RDN, CD; Emily Briggs, MSN, RDN, CD; Stacy Biesel, RN, CDE

The Columbus Community Hospital Nutrition Services team wishes you a healthy and happy 2018. Start off the New Year by incorporating one of these salt-free seasonings to your meals, accompanied by a mocktail.


The BIG Pink Ball Drop

25th Annual Golf Classic
A benefit for the Columbus Community Hospital Foundation
 2 Chances to win with each ball!
1st ball in or closest to the hole: 1/2 the proceeds
Ball farthest from the hole: $500
Max 1000 Balls
Winner Need Not Be Present to Win

Promoting the Benefits of Breastfeeding Through Knowledge and Support

Pictured are Joan Young, RN, FNP, IBCLC, lactation consultant at CCH, and new parents Heather and Mark Solfelt holding their son, Wesley.

By: Patti Walker
Article Featured in Inspire Magazine
Whether she is talking about the benefits of breastfeeding, assisting new moms feeding their baby for the first time, answering questions over the phone, or meeting with mothers and babies on an outpatient basis, Joan Young, RN, FNP, IBCLC, lactation consultant at Columbus Community Hospital, is passionate about her job.

“Breast is best. There are so many benefits to breastfeeding and we learn more every day,” said Young, who has been educating women about the benefits of breastfeeding for over 30 years.