Long-Time Staffer Recalls 47 Years of Clinic History

Tuesday, December 20, 2016
 
 

February of 1969 seems so long ago. The Beatles had begun recording Abbey Road. Vince Lombardi was named the head coach of the Washington Redskins. The Vietnam War was raging.

Registered medical assistant Kathy Smoot recalls this period of time vividly; it was the month she was hired to work for Watson Clinic.

The interview process was strenuous. “There were three separate interviews, and a 500 question personality test,” she recalls.

Once hired, she started in the physical therapy department. Little could she have known at that moment that she was embarking upon a life-long career that would endure for well over 47 years.

“The Main Clinic was four floors just on the East side,” she says. “The record room was on the top floor, and the first floor included the lab, ekg, and our physical therapy offices.”

At that time, the entire nursing staff dressed completely in white from head to toe, and they were managed by a single nursing supervisor. “She would walk around with white shoe polish in her hand in case the nurses scuffed their shoes during their shift.”

Computers had not yet come into their own, so everything was handwritten and stored on reams of paper in the file room.

Doctor visits cost $5.

At the start of her career, Kathy rubbed shoulders with several of the Clinic’s founding fathers, including Dr. Jere Annis, Dr. Henry Fuller and Dr. Edgar Watson. “They were amazing people, and all very patient- and family-oriented.”

Even today, Kathy occasionally encounters the children or grandchildren of some of our doctors on staff from all those decades ago. “I let them know how loved and respected they were, and how proud they should be of the legacy they helped to build.”

A strong sense of family defined the working atmosphere of the Clinic from the very beginning. Every member of Watson Clinic’s team – from the physicians to the nursing staff – knew one another, their kids, wives and husbands. They would all join together for one of their most anticipated events each year – an annual picnic – during which they would enjoy catering from Jimbo’s, play volleyball, and socialize.

Through the years, Kathy has worked in physical therapy, ophthalmology, optometry, and gastroenterology. For the past ten years, she’s felt blessed to work in the general surgery department alongside Dr. Jack Thigpen.

The Clinic has undergone enormous growth since Kathy first started, but one thing remains unchanged after all these years. “I’m still very proud to be here,” she says. “I still love what I do.”

 
 
 
12/20/2016

Comments:

Response to: Long-Time Staffer Recalls 47 Years of Clinic History
Thursday, January 05, 2017
Loretta plumley says:

Congratulation to you Kathy from Jerry and I. You are a great nurse and person . Love Loretta

Response to: Long-Time Staffer Recalls 47 Years of Clinic History
Friday, January 06, 2017
Hazel NewmanBaxley says:

Kathy was one of the many that made me feel welcome and like family when I started working at the Clinic in January 1973. I wish her well in retirement, and hopefully we will continue to run into each other occasionally.

Response to: Long-Time Staffer Recalls 47 Years of Clinic History
Monday, January 09, 2017
Sherry Russell says:

Congratulations Kathy! I hope everyone appreciates your dedication as much as we do!

Response to: Long-Time Staffer Recalls 47 Years of Clinic History
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Mary Ann Blanchard says:

Outstanding CMA and person. I had the great opportunity to work with Kathy. Love this article! Outstanding office!

Response to: Long-Time Staffer Recalls 47 Years of Clinic History
Thursday, January 05, 2017
Dana Hall RN BSN - Clinical Services Coordinator says:

Congratulations Kathy! Watson Clinic has been blessed to have such a dedicated employee and member of the Watson Clinic family!

Response to: Long-Time Staffer Recalls 47 Years of Clinic History
Thursday, January 05, 2017
Karen B Barrett says:

She sounds like perfect member of the great teams at Watson. Years do go by. Husband survived Vietnam and other assignments to become RET/DAV/USA in 1987 (over 20). I survived Woodstock ('69) and various careers (retired Duke Energy 1997) - we relocated to central Florida about then and became "loyal patients" of Watson-Jim switched from Tampa VA - (Bartow -Dr. Phen and Lakeland Drs. Oates, Rich/Harvey, Shenkman, Butler, Gonzalez and others). We've been happy with the various Doctors/teams/services all these years.

Response to: Long-Time Staffer Recalls 47 Years of Clinic History
Thursday, January 05, 2017
Lee A. Corbin says:

Kathy is a true asset of Watson Clinic and was very helpful when my mother was a surgery patient of Dr. Thigpen's. It is rare to find an employee who has been with an organization as long as she has, so congratulations to Kathy on her 47 years of service!

Response to: Long-Time Staffer Recalls 47 Years of Clinic History
Thursday, January 05, 2017
Helen Dyer says:

She is the best!!!!! So very helpful when I was getting surgery scheduled with Dr Thigpen three years ago. She treats her patients like family. Thanks Kathy!

Response to: Long-Time Staffer Recalls 47 Years of Clinic History
Thursday, January 05, 2017
Larry G Dobbs says:

As a patient of Watson Clinic for over 40 years, I remember Kathy from some of the previous departments she worked in. More recently, as a surgery patient of Dr. Thigpen's , Kathy has provide the utmost professional assistance. Thanks Kathy for your competent and courteous service to the thousands of Watson Clinic patients you've served over the years.

Response to: Long-Time Staffer Recalls 47 Years of Clinic History
Thursday, January 05, 2017
dorothy charlton says:

I worked with Kathy (who was working at the time for Dr. Dukes) for 20 years. She is one super dedicated employee and the patients all love her. Dr. Thigpen is lucky to have Kathy working with him for so many years. She is a very competent employee. CONGRATS Kathy.

Response to: Long-Time Staffer Recalls 47 Years of Clinic History
Thursday, January 05, 2017
Dorine Powell says:

I have known Kathy for about 30 some years. She is a loving, caring and a very good Christian friend.

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