Three decades ago, Joan Seaman’s mother had a vision that Seaman should leave her then-job and apply at the Waldport Clinic. After each part of her mother’s vision came to fruition, Seaman decided to take her advice, applied at the clinic and was hired on the spot.
Since then, she has been a fixture at the clinic, starting out as a licensed practical nurse and eventually becoming clinic manager. Ten years into the job, she experienced the merger with Samaritan Health Services, and then in 2015, oversaw the clinic’s relocation to its current site.
After 31 years, Seaman will retire on Tuesday, Jan. 2.
“I feel that I was meant to come here to work and I have felt good about being part of a team to help our community. But at 70, I feel it’s time to turn it over to someone else,” she said.
As manager, she has served as a liaison between patients and providers, answering questions and responding to feedback, oversaw the schedule and staffing needs, and from time to time, has even done a bit of minor maintenance. (She keeps a pink toolbox stashed under her desk).
But what she has most enjoyed is helping people.
“I enjoy patient care and like helping people, whether it’s patients or staff,” she said. “I guess that comes from my nursing instincts, but I really like to help people get their health care needs met, and also, I like helping them figure out their bills.”
After 31 years, she knows many people. She says she often encounters patients out at the grocery store or elsewhere in her day-to-day life. “I’ve even had people say, ‘oh, I’ve been meaning to call and schedule an appointment … can you squeeze me in’?” she said with a laugh.
She figures that the clinic has about 5,000 patients on the books, and about 120 of them come through the clinic on an average busy day. “So yes, I know a lot of people,” she said.
She is proud of the growth in the clinic over the years, and appreciates the clinic’s connection to the larger Samaritan system.“I am proud to be part of a health care system that cares about its community,” she said. “I really like Samaritan and its mission in the community.”
In retirement she plans to join her already-retired husband in the upkeep of the many animals on their 9-acre property in Toledo. “It will be nice to be home and go for walks and hikes, even read a book if I want to. I’m ready,” she said.
“It doesn’t seem like it’s been 31 years, maybe 12, but not 31,” she added. “But it will be good to do something else now.”