During Katherine White-Spunner's 31 years as
administrator and director, Mobile Infirmary expanded from 70 to 520 beds. Miss
White-Spunner's association with Mobile Infirmary began with her training there
as a nurse. She graduated in 1913 in the first class of the school of nursing.
She worked as operating room supervisor before moving to positions in Tennessee
and Mississippi, then returned to Mobile Infirmary as administrator in
Miss White-Spunner played an important role in
establishing the new Mobile Infirmary on Louiselle Street which opened in
January of 1952. She was closely identified with the subsequent enlargement of
the infirmary, including construction of a new school of nursing building with
accommodations for 125 student nurses.
Miss White-Spunner's driving concern during her
tenure as administrator and director of the Mobile Infirmary was the care of
patients in the hospital. She visited each patient at least once during the
hospital stay. She talked with family members and consulted with doctors to be
certain that the patients' care was coordinated between doctors and other
personnel. She influenced nurses to have the same caring attitude, and she was
able to maintain Mobile Infirmary's atmosphere as a patient-centered
Miss White-Spunner was active in numerous
charities, particularly in those involving disabled children. She was a charter
member of the Mobile County Chapter of the National Foundation for Infantile
Paralysis and later served on the Foundation's medical advisory board. She
worked for the development of a convalescent home for disabled children. In
1955, the United Cerebral Palsy Telethon - with Miss White-Spunner as chairman
- raised $55,000 for the Beacon of Hope Clinic.
She promoted her profession and was active in
district, state, and national organizations. She served terms as president of
both the South Alabama Hospital Council and the district nurses' association.
She served on the executive committees of the Southeastern Hospital Conference
and the Alabama Hospital Association. She also served as president of the
Alabama Hospital Association and, in 1961, was the first person to receive the
Distinguished Service Award given by that organization. In 1964, the Convention
of the Alabama State Nurses Association was dedicated in her honor.
During her lifetime, Katherine White-Spunner
earned and received many honors, including that of being selected as First Lady
of Mobile in 1955. She truly exemplified the Florence Nightingale