Gilbert Thomas Rutledge

Gilbert has been a nurse for 16 years, and a Duke Nurse since 2009.  According to Gilbert, he is “really into teamwork.”  He grew up playing sports, and he treats the hospital like an arena.  He was instrumental in developing the Bedflow Charge Nurse role to decrease the OR hold rate – every minute the OR is on hold, it costs our organization more than $60.  Gilbert works as Bedflow Charge to manage the flow of patients across the Cardiothoracic Surgery Service Line.  That requires A LOT of teamwork.  Gilbert also works as an Operations Administrator and is on the Patient Response Team and the new Behavioral Emergency Response Team.  On his résumé, he lists these as his “elite Teams.”


This nominee is a master motivator who is able to get the best from his colleagues in the challenging environment.  He can lead the team through a busy day by being proactive, anticipating roadblocks, and being willing to jump in and help the team succeed in any way he can to ensure our patients get the care they come to Duke to receive.  With his primary focus always being the patients and ensuring their needs are met, coupled with his outstanding work ethic, our patients greatly benefit from this nominee’s being on our team.  He never takes time off during a shift, and is always looking to do more for his patients – walking them as soon as they are able to get out of bed after cardiac surgery – sometimes on the day of surgery; or changing dressings when doing a bath, even when they aren’t quite out of date yet, in order to give the patients the best opportunity for a smooth and successful recovery.  He communicates very effectively and always does everything within his ability to ensure patient flow is not hindered when he is in the Bedflow Charge Nurse role, including walking patients or retrieving beds from stepdown to facilitate patient progression and movement.


This nurse has obtained his CNIV as well as his specialty certification as a critical-care nurse (CCRN).  As a unit Cardiac Monitoring Champion, this nominee seizes every opportunity to provide clarity on setting appropriate alarms on the patient monitors.  He recognizes the utility of providing our staff the tools necessary to become independently successful clinicians in order to enable the unit to run more efficiently and foster a climate of safety.  He also serves in the Operations Administrator (OA) role, as well as a member of the Patient Response Team.  When it comes to patient safety and satisfaction, he will always be a patient advocate and take pride in knowing he has given 110% at work on a daily basis.  He has often volunteered to stay late and take a patient when no one else was available in order to get them out of the OR on time and begin the post-operative recovery as soon as possible.  This nominee has presented posters at Cone Health and the American Nurses Association Quality and Innovation Conferences – sharing his work with the Bedflow Charge Nurse role.


Successfully starting the Bedflow Charge Nurse and decreasing our OR hold rate from 21% to 2% over a 17-month period (prior to bedflow centralization in 2020) was in large part due to this nominee’s hard work and dedication to the role and our patient population.  As a Bedflow Charge Nurse, he is constantly required to critically think and problem-solve to ensure efficient patient flow.  One example is working closely with the ICU team to identify potential “boarders” who would be appropriate to temporarily move to another ICU to allow an OR case to be done and come to our unit to recover.  He is also willing to step in and take a patient assignment while in the Bedflow Charge Nurse role, when it is the only option during a busy day to help facilitate patient flow and provide a satisfying experience – not only for the patients and their families, but for his coworkers in the service line’s units and ORs, as well.  As a Cardiac Monitoring Champion, this nurse has formulated the most effective education possible and efficiently educated our staff to important concepts of our cardiac monitoring policy during our annual Skills Blitz for several years now.


This nurse has collaborated with multiple departments and facilities to grow the Heart Center Softball Tournament into what it has become.  He looks to not only increase participation and the amount of funds raised for the American Heart Association, but he strives to build relationships with the other units and facilities through the tournament.  He has been instrumental in the role of the Bedflow Charge Nurse, but he has also helped build awareness of the role by having other departments shadow him while in the role.  This nominee volunteered to shadow CareHub during the centralization of the Heart Center into hospital bedflow, and was instrumental in the success of the transition.  He has become known throughout the hospital as a great facilitator and resource when one needs help placing a patient.  This nurse sought out the OA position as a means to grow his skill set and collaborate with units and entities outside of his home unit.


This nominee engages the customer in frequent conversation and builds a rapport with them, which enables him to sense patient or family needs more easily.  This nominee will often inquire as to where his patient is from and will usually have a long conversation with them about it in order to get a sense of the person’s background, values, interests, etc.  He uses this information to tailor his care of the patient and their family members, which fosters a sense of comfort and ease.  He then does a great job teaching patients and family members the necessary information needed for a speedy recovery.

In one particular staff meeting, he spoke up when a topic related to self-confidence and working hard to be successful came up.  After he addressed those present, a palpable sense of optimism and encouragement permeated the room.  He exudes a sense of optimism and positivity at work, even in the face of insurmountable odds, and the staff become that much more effective as a result.


With his strong work ethic and clinical skills, his innovative spirit, as well as his dedication to our patients, their families, and his coworkers, this nominee clearly finds satisfaction by truly living the Duke Values and supporting the facility in its efforts to deliver world-class care to our patients.  He is certainly very deserving of the recognition that Friends of Nursing bestows on the award winners.

FON Photos edited x Rutledge

Gilbert Thomas Rutledge


Clinical Nurse IV

Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit DMP 7 West

Duke University Hospital


Award for Excellence in Critical Care Nursing



Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021