The end of the year will bring big change to the West Nipissing General Hospital as President and CEO Cynthia Desormiers will retire, bringing to close a 34-year career at the local institution.
Desormiers announced her intention to the hospital’s Board of Directors on April 11. Her last day of employment is scheduled to be Dec. 31.
“What I leave with is definitely all the great people I got the opportunity to work with,” she says. “I grew up in this community, so being able to work with such a great team and to serve my community and hometown, that’s been amazing: lots of really good memories and I’m going to miss a lot of people. They’ve played a large part in my life, they’ve been in my life a long time, you know, 34 years.”
The idea of retiring began to come up after her husband, Marcel, did so a few years ago, but she acknowledges that stepping down wasn’t really an option in the middle of a pandemic. This year appears to be the right time: the hospital is going through the accreditation process in early December with Accreditation Canada, so Desormiers can see that through, and she hopes COVID-19 activity may have decreased by the time she heads south for the winter.
“I’m looking forward to going south for the winter months, that’s for sure,” she says. “We’ve already begun some planning. And then spending some more time with my family – without my cellphone – so I’m really looking forward to that.”
While attending Laurentian University in her fourth year, Desormiers got her start nursing in WNGH’s ICU. She accepted a position out of school and worked on the frontlines for years but says she always had planned on pursuing leadership roles.
“I think I was always from the get-go interested in management. In the ‘80s, going to university, the focus was often on leadership and different roles, so I understood that I needed to have that frontline nursing foundation and I think it was so important and valuable, but I think I always had aspirations for administration and management positions.”
The opportunity presented itself in 2003, when she got to join the senior administrative team as Assistant Executive Director of Patient Care Services. Realizing she wanted to further her education before taking a higher role, she completed her Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration online at Bellevue University. In 2009, she took over for Yves Campeau as WNGH’s CEO.