Bundaberg icons celebrate 70 years of Mater service

Gayle Nickel and Julie Zillmann are celebrating a combined 70 years of service to Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg this week, as both ladies started at the hospital in 1985 on the same day working in the kitchen together.

They have been friends ever since and spoke fondly of their time in the hospital as they were each awarded their 35 years of service gifts.   

Julie has had many roles within Mater since she began, she can remember washing dishes and thought there were so many they must have been playing a practical joke on her.

“I told my family when I came home that night, I am never washing another dish again. Since then I have been in administration, accounts and now I am working as the theatre booking clerk a role I have been in for the past 20 years,” Julie said.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here, it’s a fantastic, family orientated place to work and the teams are so supportive.  

“The role of Mater in Bundaberg is huge, we know our patients really well and there is an amazing sense of community here. People can’t speak highly enough of the services we provide.”

Gayle too has had many roles within Mater she now works at the Hospitality Manager and a Pastoral Carer which is integral to her faith and connection to the history of Mater.

“One of the happiest times of my life was travelling to Dublin and walking the footsteps of our founding Sister Catherine McAuley, seeing where she began her journey and how she lived her life has given me a strong connection to the Mater,” Gayle said.   

“I love the family culture of the hospital, we are a caring, compassionate organisation and this flows from management through staff and on to our patients.

“The hospital has changed so much over the years however I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and we truly are a family.”

Director of Nursing Catherine Hackney said the organisation was lucky to have two team members like Gayle and Julie who embodied the Mater mission and values.

“All the staff here in Bundaberg are committed to implementing the Mater mission and values, they are at the core of everything we do here,” Catherine said.

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