Dr. Rose C. Kurz, a retired psychiatric nurse and educator who had been a consultant to the Pan American Health Organization, died Aug. 3 of complications after surgery at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air.
The Forest Hill resident was 85.
Rose C. Kurz, whose father was chairman of the biology department at Florida State University, and whose mother was a homemaker, was born and raised in Tallahasse, Fla., where she graduated from high school.
After graduating in 1943 from Florida State, she moved to New Orleans, where she worked as a psychiatric nurse at Charity Hospital and lived in the French Quarter.
She left New Orleans in 1951 and enrolled at Catholic University of America, where she earned a master's degree in psychiatry.
Dr. Kurz worked at Chestnut Lodge in Rockville until 1965, when she was appointed director of nursing at what is now Sheppard Pratt Health System in Towson.
While at Sheppard Pratt, she co-wrote "Case Studies in Schizophrenia" with Dr. Clarence G. Schulz, whom she had worked with at Chestnut Lodge, a nationally known hospital for the emotionally and mentally disturbed; he later became assistant medical director at Sheppard Pratt.
The two authors studied seven psychiatric patients who were not being cared for at Sheppard Pratt. After its publication in 1969, the book quickly established itself as a standard text on the subject.
They "singled out case histories not for their happy endings but for their range of delusion, hysteria, hostility and other forms of irrationality," reported The Baltimore Sun in a 1974 article.
Dr. Kurz was "involved in nursing care of five of the cases, and having a prose style that has been largely spared the defacement of writing for learned journals, then collaborated with Dr. Schulz to produce a polished draft, acceptable to Basic Books, a specialist in worthwhile books in psychology and the social sciences," reported the newspaper.
She and Dr. Schulz traveled to Belo Horizante in eastern Brazil in 1973 to share the philosophy of Sheppard Pratt, which is "humanistic and optimistic about the treatment of the psychotic patient," reported The Sun at the time.
Dr. Kurz said that language and cultural differences did not differentiate among the mentally ill.
"When people hear voices, they hear voices," she said "The voices may be saying different things in a different language, but the situation is basically the same."
Dr. Kurz also planted new thoughts regarding psychiatric nurses, who formerly were nothing more than "guards and custodians."
"But the team treatment philosophy has upgraded the position of nurses," she explained in the interview. "Psychiatric nursing is much more intellectual and less task-oriented than nursing in a general hospital."
She left Sheppard Pratt in 1976, when she joined the faculty of Coppin State University as assistant professor of nursing.
In 1980, she earned a doctorate in public administration from the University of Maryland and became a consultant to the Pan American Health Organization.
Dr. Kurz lived in Barbados while working in the English-speaking Caribbean Islands, where she established day treatment programs for psychiatric patients.
After retiring in 1992, she moved to the Outer Banks, where she lived until 1997, when she moved to Forest Hill.
Dr. Kurz volunteered with the Cylburn Arboretum Association, the SPCA, and several church ministries. Her philanthropic interests included the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve.
After an earlier marriage to James Kilgalen ended in divorce, she returned to her maiden name. Dr. Kurz was married for two years to Norman Cringle, a civil engineer, who died in 1982.
She was a member of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 2929 Level Road, Churchville, where a memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Aug. 25.
Dr. Kurz is survived by two sons, James Kilgalen of Fallston and John Kilgalen of New Smyrna, Del.; four grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun