March 2024 Alumni Spotlights: Charlotte Wisman Ipsan (FC ’82) and Ruth Wilthers Heideman (NA ’64)

March 2024 Alumni Spotlights: Charlotte Wisman Ipsan (FC ’82) and Ruth Wilthers Heideman (NA ’64)

Excerpt from the March 2024 Legacy Ledger:

Alumni Spotlight Header

This month’s spotlight features two alumni who have dedicated their nursing careers to taking care of others. For Charlotte Ipsan (FCHS 1982 and 2023 FC Hall of Fame inductee), much of the care is given to directing and supporting the nurses who are working at the bedside. For Ruth Heideman (NAHS 1964), the care was often directly delivered at the bedside. In both cases, these two alumni have cared for thousands of people. What is equally impressive is that, in their “spare time,” both women have donated so much of their time, money, and expertise to other worthwhile causes, as well.

Introduction and spotlights by Kelly Watkins (FCHS ’84)

Charlotte Wisman Ipsan

Charlotte Wisman Ipsan, DNP, RNC, NNP-BC (FCHS 1982) can tell you exactly how FCHS helped in her career. She was presenting at a Foundation Board Meeting, where she was requesting the largest grant ever requested to create a Pediatric Emergency Department. Charlotte quickly found herself facing a list of tough questions.

Afterwards, Charlotte’s boss asked if she was okay. Charlotte replied, “That was nothing. If you want to see something nerve wracking, try being an FC Dazzler.” She went on to explain to her boss, “Once, while performing at half-time in front of all the fans at an NA-FC ball game, our team forgot a portion of the routine. If you can survive that, you can survive anything.”

Charlotte has certainly applied that same discipline she learned in dance to her career. (By the way, she received the money she requested and was able to create the Pediatric Emergency Department.) Charlotte is currently System Vice President, Chief Hospital Officer for Norton Healthcare. As a senior executive, Charlotte supports five hospitals within the Norton network. Previously, she served as Chief Administrative Officer of Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital. She has also served as the American Hospital Association’s representative to the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Hospital Care.

Although Charlotte is a doctor, she is also a nurse. Her doctorate degree is in Nursing Practice, … and so is her heart. In the beginning of her career, Charlotte loved working as a nurse and taking care of patients. Her focus was on maternal/child and pediatric health.

Yet, Charlotte soon discovered that she also loved supporting the other nurses and caregivers as an administrator. In her administrative role, her goal is to provide the highest quality of care with the highest human touch possible. Charlotte believes in the saying, “Happy patients; happy staff. Happy staff; happy patients.” She is especially proud of the teams she has built over the years and watching those people grow and develop. If you have ever met Charlotte, you know she always has a ready smile and a word of encouragement.

In addition, Charlotte is an active advocate for children’s health, having served on numerous advisory committees over the years. Also, since she learned so many valuable lessons from being on a dance team, Charlotte wants other young girls to have that same opportunity. Charlotte owns Planet Dance Allstars studio. Her goals are to build the self-esteem of young girls, to help them learn to work together as a team, and to give back to the community.

When it comes to work/life balance, Charlotte says that she works hard, but she also plays hard. She never misses a party.

Charlotte’s four children all graduated from FCHS. Brandon Freiberger in 2004, Tyler Freiberger in 2006, Ian Ipsan in 2011, and Emrie Ipsan in 2018.

Ruth Heideman

Ruth Wilthers Heideman (NAHS 1964) loves nursing. That is a good thing because she did it for 46 years. Her entire career was spent at Baptist Health Floyd. The hospital may have changed names a few times over the years, but Ruth’s dedication to nursing never wavered.

Ruth always knew she wanted to be a nurse. She even joined the Future Nurse’s Club as a student at NAHS. Ruth says that at NAHS she received the strong education she needed to succeed in college.

Early in her nursing career, Ruth worked “relief,” which meant she worked on every floor. She used all that experience when she finally landed permanently in her favorite department – the Emergency Room. By then, Ruth said that she had seen it all “from birth to death.”

Ruth loved the ER because she never knew what was going to come through the door. It was an adrenaline rush. She was able to use her expertise, and it was always busy. In order to give her patients the best care possible, Ruth continued her education in emergency care. She was a Certified Emergency Nurse, and she also became ACLS (Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support) certified.

Eventually, Ruth became Director of the ER. Because she was an over-achiever, she also simultaneously served as Director of the Operating Room for 12 years. One of the things that Ruth appreciated about being Director was – she could still be involved in nursing. She could still go to the bedside and give care to patients. As Ruth says, “Nursing was my thing. I loved everything about nursing.”

For Ruth, it was all about the patients. When asked, she couldn’t even guess how many thousands of patients she cared for in 46 years. In some cases, it was three generations of patients.

In addition to nursing, Ruth served on the Hospital Foundation Board for over 15 years. For three of those years, she served as Director of the Foundation. They raised money for scholarships, medical equipment, and the CARE program (to recognize associates). Ruth always wanted the employees to feel as though the hospital was the best place to work … to feel like it was family.

Even when Ruth retired, she never stopped caring for people. She is currently active with several community organizations, including Lifespan, HOPE Southern Indiana, and the NAFC Education Foundation Board. She also works behind the scenes elsewhere – quietly donating both her time and money.

Ruth also appreciates the value of sports and how important they are for our community’s youth. Both of her daughters played softball at NAHS. Debbie Loyd graduated in 1983 and Tammy Loyd in 1989. Currently, Ruth helps sponsor the Floyd County Track Club for second to fourth graders. Ruth shared that at one track meet, a little girl was thrilled to be involved. She was so proud to tell Ruth, “I did so good. I came in 80th!” Ruth says it is rewarding to see the children’s enthusiasm.

Read the complete March 2024 Legacy Ledger

Sharing is caring!