In Memoriam: Kate Payne, 1957-2021

Kate Payne, an associate professor of nursing at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, died at a hospice care facility on January 6. She was 63 years old and had suffered from cancer.

A native of Denver, Payne grew up in Littleton, Colorado. She received a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Colorado State University in 1979 and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Rush University in Chicago. She earned a juris doctorate at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

Payne came to Vanderbilt in 2015 and was a clinical ethicist and member of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. During her more than 35 years in health care, she worked in hospitals and community health in a variety of roles, including teacher, consultant, leader, and direct caregiver. As a clinical ethics consultant at VUMC, she provided assistance to families, patients, and health care teams in decision making, discussion of ethical concerns, and consideration of goals and options, including end-of-life care decisions. Before joining the staff at Vanderbilt, Payne spent nearly 19 years as director of Ethics and Palliative Care at Saint Thomas West Hospital. She also briefly served as chief executive officer for the nonprofit University Community Health Service.

Linda D. Norman, dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing remembers Payne as one of the most beloved nurses at Vanderbilt. “There was no one better to walk you through challenging, sometimes painful, moral clinical decisions. She shared her knowledge and experience with many nursing and medical students and faculty, and helped hundreds of families and health care staff through difficult times,” Dr. Norman said.

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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