SHRP gift: Former nursing coordinator's family gives ergonomic donation
Published on Friday, August 23, 2019
By: Bruce Coleman
For as long as the School of Health Related Professions building stands at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Florence E. King’s name and contributions to the institution she loved will always be remembered.
Bob King’s devotion to his mother’s legacy and influence – echoed by his cousin and Florence E. King’s niece, Heather Fennimore – have led the duo to arrange a gift of ergonomic World Task Chairs and computer monitor arms worth approximately $50,000 from their company, Humanscale, to enhance a computer laboratory in SHRP.
A bronze plaque dedicating Computer Lab B on the first floor of the SHRP building to Florence E. King, nursing program coordinator at UMMC from 1977-84, is now proudly displayed to the left of the door that will soon lead to a state-of-the-art ergonomically designed computer facility.
Bob King serves as chief executive officer of Humanscale; Fennimore is the company’s president of global health care and Information technology distribution.
On Friday, Aug. 23, Fennimore and Kevin Steets, who handles Humanscale’s health care business for the Southeast region, visited room SH136 where the computer lab will be located and toured the school, guided by Kim McGaugh, SHRP assistant dean of administration, and Dr. Kristi Moore, SHRP assistant dean for academic affairs.
Fennimore said the opportunity to visit the institution so beloved by her relative was priceless.
“This is the place that she retired from,” Fennimore said. “It was a special place in her heart. She was influential to Bob and I, she was a big influence on us building the company, so it’s satisfying to know she has a permanent place here at the university.
“She was a mentor to both of us and we want her legacy to live on.”
McGaugh said Humanscale’s donation will do just that, directly influencing the education of SHRP students.
“It expands the seating of our computer lab and provides an ergonomic space for our students,” McGaugh said. “By obtaining this equipment, it opened up a space and we were able to set up a new student lounge (where the old student lab was located).
“Because of the new computer arms, we were able to purchase tables that are narrower and allow us to make better use of our space. From an engineering perspective, students can now bring their work closer to them. Primarily, (this gift) expands the space that we have for students and helps us locate it in a more private place.”
Providing ergonomically appropriate seating is one of Humanscale’s specialties influenced by Florence E. King herself, Fennimore said.
“From a health care perspective, she was very influential,” Fennimore said. “She felt that health care was the last ergonomic frontier – the last place that computers and technology has entered the workspace.
“My aunt was adamant about design, about making it very intuitive, so you didn’t have to make a lot of adjustments to make it fit. In health care, you’re working at a computer in a different way – usually for only three or four minutes – so you have to be immediately intuitive.”
“Doctors and nurses spend a lot of time caring for patients. We wanted to provide products that ultimately wouldn’t inhibit the care given to the patient. She was always very concerned for medication errors – delivering the right medication to the right patient at the right time.”
To that end, according to company literature, Humanscale was founded in 1983 to be the premier designer and manufacturer of sustainable, high-performance ergonomic products for the workplace.
The donation of equipment to the SHRP computer lab isn’t the King family’s only support for their loved one’s favorite institution. In 2013, Bob King and his sister, Pat Pages, established a $200,000 scholarship endowment with the School of Nursing to honor Florence E. King as well.
“She loved living here (and) the people she worked for,” Fennimore said. “She mentored a lot of folks here. She comes from a long line of strong women.