NEWPORT CITY – In 1958, Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the White House, a home sold for $30,000, the first Pizza Hut opened and Yvette Deslandes started her medical career in Orleans County.
Deslandes, who retires from North Country Hospital at the end of this week, started working as a nurse’s aide at the former Orleans County Memorial Hospital. When she started, her uncle told her she would not last at the hospital more than a week.
Deslandes proved her uncle wrong and remained working there for 53 years. Back then, even she did not think she would remain at the hospital as long as she did.
For many years, Deslandes was Central Supplies Supervisor. Her most recent position was working in the Central Sterile Processing Department.
Many things changed over the past 53 years. Deslandes said the hospital has computers, which it did not have back then. “Technology is changing all the time,” she said. Deslandes does not know if that helped anything or not. “It’s hard to say.”
There are also new instruments coming in all the time, especially with orthopedics.
Deslandes said her department has more employees than it did 53 years ago.
Hospital employee Scott Wheeler of Derby, who acted as master of ceremonies during a party held at the hospital on Tuesday, read a letter from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. In the letter, Sanders congratulated Deslandes for her “extraordinary career” at the hospital. Sanders stated employees such as Deslandes enable a hospital to run efficiently.
Wheeler also read a letter from State Auditor Tom Salmon. Salmon wrote that Deslandes' commitment and dedication is remarkable and commendable. “People like you make Vermont a special place,” Salmon said.
Sen. Vince Illuzzi, who attended the party, said Deslandes has a work ethic that everyone should aspire to. “It’s not very often we find someone willing to stick to the same task day in and day out for more than half a century.”
“It’s an amazing accomplishment,” said Claudio Fort, president and CEO of North Country Hospital.