Small Town Nurse. Big Time Impact. Juneau County

Connections in Juneau County

Data Source: University of Wisconsin Service Center

When nurse practitioner Cris Custer ’91, MS’94 looks at a patient, she sees more than an ailment.

“My education at UW-Madison taught me to look at people as a person first, then their disease,” says Custer. “My role is to find out what’s important to the patient and to help them lead their best life.”

Custer, a Pardeeville, Wisconsin native who earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in nursing at UW–Madison, has practiced at Mauston’s Mile Bluff Medical Center for 21 years. She sees adult and elderly patients, and has a special interest in gerontology — the study of aging. She focuses on the promotion of health and the prevention, early detection, and best management of disease.

My education at UW-Madison taught me to look at people as a person first, then their disease.

“I particularly enjoy caring for older adults and see many patients who have chronic illnesses that we help them manage over time,” she says. “I’ve known some of these people for more than 20 years. It is rewarding to see people making healthy decisions leading to improved quality of life, as well as supporting families through health challenges.”

Custer gained an interest in health care for older adults during a UW–Madison clinical rotation in Wisconsin Dells, working with Native American families.

“One of the advantages of working in a smaller community is that we get to know not just the patient, but their families — who play such an important role not just in their lives, but in their health-care decisions,” she says.

At Mile Bluff, she has seen generations of patients.

“People who were just retiring when I started my practice here are now over 80 years old. I see their children and grandchildren,” she says. “You get to know what’s important to people. It’s a special relationship.”