Kathleen P. Ruane, a registered nurse practitioner at Greater Baltimore Medical Center recalled as a compassionate caregiver, died Saturday from cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. She was 67.
“I loved working with her. She was always calm and reasonable and on mission,” said Dr. W. Anthony Riley, founding chief medical officer at Gilchrist Hospice Care, an affiliate of GBMC. “She never hesitated to reach out and get what she needed for her patients. We are going to miss her. She was the model and set the standard for competence and compassion.”
Dr. Mary C. Cogar, who lives in Original Northwood, was a friend of Ms. Ruane’s for 37 years. They met when both worked at Union Memorial Hospital in the 1980s.
“Kathy was one of the most giving and compassionate persons I have ever known or met. She always went out of her way for her patients, family and friends,” said Dr. Cogar, a Towson psychologist.
Kathleen Patricia Ruane was the daughter of Eugene J. Ruane, director of information at Villanova University, and Regina E. Ruane, a homemaker. She was born in Lansdowne, Pa., and raised in Havertown, Pa.
She was a graduate of the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur in Villanova, Pa., and obtained a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Villanova University in 1972.
From 1972 to 1973, she was a staff nurse in the medical surgical unit at Delaware County Hospital in Drexel Hill, Pa., and then was a drug and alcohol counselor for Frederick County Community Health Services in 1973 and 1974.
She graduated in 1976 from George Washington University’s family nurse practitioner program and obtained a master’s in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the 1980s.
While studying at GWU, Ms. Ruane worked in the progressive coronary care center at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington.
She began her career as a registered nurse practitioner in 1976 at Sinai Hospital’s Primary Care Center as outpatient practitioner working with children. A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse with a degree allowing them to write prescriptions and perform examinations as a doctor does.
From 1980 to 1981, she was outpatient nurse practitioner and nursing supervisor at Park West Health Center, working with both children and adults. She began her 11-year career at Union Memorial in 1981, and over several years was responsible for new patient admission history, became director of the hospice program and held positions with program development, budgeting and staff supervision.
In 1987 she was named director of oncology services, responsible for planning and development of the oncology unit, breast screening center, cancer support group and tumor registry.
She became director of ambulatory services in 1989, in charge of the management of outpatient clinics, home care, hospice and the osteoporosis and breast screening centers.
Ms. Ruane left Union Memorial in 1992 when she was appointed oncology service line administrator at St. Agnes Hospital. There, she oversaw operations, budgeting, program development and cancer care. She was an adult nurse practitioner at St. Agnes and conducted a geriatric practice from 1994 to 1999.
For six years she had an office-based geriatric practice and a part-time practice in the assisted living facility at Oak Crest Village, a Parkville retirement community. She joined GBMC in 2005 as a nurse practitioner in senior services and worked in its community outreach program.
“She was our first nurse practitioner in our practice in 2005,” Dr. Riley said. “Our practice is working with advanced-age and ill patients, and she went where they were. She had all of the skills we wanted ... and everything we were interested in.”
She provided outreach to seniors in income-restricted facilities in Towson and nearby neighborhoods while also treating homeless patients at the Assistance Center for Towson Churches.
“Kathy was a dedicated, gifted humanitarian. She was a person who lived her life with grace and passion,” said Michaeline “Mickie” Yaffe, of Monkton, who worked alongside Ms. Ruane for eight years at GBMC. She noted that Ms. Ruane had received GBMC's Compassionate Care Giver award.
“She provided care to many in the Towson community,” she said.
“Kathy was awesome and gave of herself first and was always looking to do for others,” said Tracie L. Morgan, of Parkville, manager of GBMC’s Advanced Care Management. “She was very friendly, warm and available and was passionate about what she did.”
Much of Ms. Ruane’s work took her beyond GBMC. She began working for Catholic Charities in 2004 at Trinity House and later at Gallagher Services, where she provided residential and day support for the developmentally challenged.
In 2013, she brought her skills to Village Crossroads, a Catholic Charities facility in Fullerton that provided low-income housing for seniors.
Ms. Ruane was also a preceptor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, and taught in the geriatric nurse practitioner program from 1995 to 2005. In 2011, she was a finalist for The Daily Record’s Health Care Heroes.
She had not retired at her death.
“She was totally committed to her patients,” Ms. Yaffe said. “That was one of the reasons she did not want to retire.”
“She was drawn to her work by the needs of people,” said Dr. Cogar. “Many people were isolated in apartments and could not get out to regular medical appointments.”
She had been an active member of Peoples Community Health Center and had held various offices, including the president of the board.
A resident of Northeast Baltimore’s Beverly Hills neighborhood, Ms. Ruane enjoyed baking and was a dog lover.
“Her job was very demanding and baking for her was a way to escape,” said her brother, Michael E. Ruane, a Washington Post reporter, who said his sister would rise early on Saturday mornings and begin baking at 5 a.m.
She baked lemon bars, scones, muffins and tarts which she sold to the Red Canoe Cafe in Lauraville.
“She loved dogs and had two Welsh corgis,” her brother said. “She’d even go up to bomb-sniffing dogs in airports and pet them.”
For many years, Ms. Ruane enjoyed vacationing at a family cottage in the Outer Banks.
She was a communicant of St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church, 3615 Harford Road, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Friday.