Skip to main content

Thank You to Our Heroes!

Ruth Exis, RN, Nurse Manager
Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem

Today we want to honor Ruth Exis, RN, is a nurse manager at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem. Here is her story as reported by Page Leggett and Josh Jarman of Novant Health

Ordinarily, Ruth Exis is an assistant daytime nurse manager on the neurology floor at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte. She’s still on the same floor, but it’s been converted to a wing dedicated solely to caring for “intermediate” COVID patients. Exis’ team cares for patients who are sick but don’t need a ventilator. Patients requiring a ventilator are in the ICU.

Some patients are scared. They see the news on TV; they know about the rising death toll. They can’t have visitors. Exis and her team do what they can to bridge the gap. Patients weren’t allowed to bring their devices from home. So, some nurses began using their own personal devices to let patients communicate with their families. Exis asked her leader, Jason Cooke, director of nursing critical care and neurosciences at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, about getting an iPad for their floor that nurses could take from room to room.

“He made it happen that day,” she said. “It was the biggest blessing. Everything we’ve asked for, our senior leaders have delivered.” That includes PPE. That’s a necessity, but it interferes with the relationship between provider and patient. “They can’t see our faces,” Exis said. “They don’t even know what we look like.” Nurses and doctors are so shielded, they don’t always even recognize each other.

“We’ve had to get creative about how we deliver care,” Exis said. “We talk with a smile now.” Patients can’t see it, but they hear it.

“It’s a totally different kind of care we’re giving,” Exis continued. Yet, Exis said there’s an energy on her floor she’s never felt before. “Teamwork has never been more important,” she said. “These nurses know the whole team has got their back. There’s a new level of trust that has brought a positivity to our unit – one you can feel.” She calls her team “heroic” and said she’s been “amazed by their stamina and compassion.”

What’s more, patients are getting better and being discharged. Each patient who goes home is another team triumph and dose of good cheer.

Thank you to Ruth for your commitment, dedication, and compassion for your patients and communities. 

If you have a story and pictures of a front line nurse you would like us to highlight on our website and social media, please email them to us at