Tuesday, August 7, 2018, DOVER, Ohio: Only a few months after he graduated from high school and moved to Dover in 1974, a brief conversation with a new neighbor turned into a lengthy and “very satisfying” career for Paul Creighton.
Creighton, the Director of Environmental Services at Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital, is retiring after 44 years at the hospital – the only organization he has ever worked for.
“I was talking to a neighbor one day who was a telephone switchboard operator at the hospital, and she told me about a job opening in the Laundry Department and she encouraged me to look into it,” Creighton said. “So I did, and I got the job. If you had told me then that I would go on and work here for the next 44 years, well, of course, I wouldn’t have believed it at the time.”
But indeed, Creighton did build his working life exclusively at the hospital, including promotions to the supervisor in the Laundry Department, then taking on the combined duties of overseeing both the Laundry and Housekeeping departments, and later being named Director of Environmental Services. In his current position, Creighton oversees around 45 staff members at the hospital, a function that is “on duty” around the clock every day of the year.
“I really enjoy the staff I work with and they are very committed to the hospital, our patients and the community,” Creighton said. “I am very lucky to work with every one of them.”
Bob Craig, the hospital’s Vice President of Operations, said that the hospital also is fortunate to have had the contributions and dedication of Creighton throughout the years.
“Paul has been a part of a great many changes and we will miss his kind heart and commitment to the hospital, our patients and our staff,” Craig said. “He has been an asset to the hospital, and the staff he oversees reflects his commitment and dedication.”
Creighton said he learned the values of hard work and dedication growing up on his family’s dairy farm in the East Canton area of Stark County. Just like in the department he directs at the hospital, there truly is no such thing as a “day off.” That also played a role in his career aspirations.
“I love to travel, and with a dairy farm, you can’t just drop everything and go – you can’t do that,” Creighton said. “So I knew then I wanted to do something besides that.”
Creighton said he is very proud to have been a part of major equipment and efficiency upgrades in the hospital laundry, and to have worked on providing the required support services for the Boulevard South edition of the hospital that opened in the early 2000s.
He also said he learned one of the most valuable lessons of his healthcare career shortly after he took on management duties.
“I was attending a session with a guest speaker who encouraged us to look at our work beyond just the day-to-day functions,” Creighton said. “He told us that we are part of the entire patient experience. He said, ‘You all are dealing in patient satisfaction.’ That had a big impact on me then and still does now.”
As he prepares for retirement, Creighton said he does not have any specific plans, he just wants to “relax and enjoy life.” He and his wife Shirley reside in Wainwright and enjoy their time with their four children, 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He also enjoys watching the activities of his grandchildren, attending football games and tending to his yard.
But he has no plans to give up one “job” even when he completes his duties at the hospital.
“I do my share of laundry at home and I know I will keep doing that,” he said with a grin.
Some habits truly are hard to break.
Information about Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital and all of its services available to the community is available on the hospital website at www.unionhospital.org, and on the hospital’s pages on Facebook and Twitter (@Union_Hospital).