Bill and Maureen retire from St Vincent's Private Hospital Toowoomba

Maureen and Bill Gabler worked at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Toowoomba for a combined 58 years.

Maureen commenced nursing at St Vincent’s in 1984, and with the exception of three years, worked there continually as a pathology collector with Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology. Up until 2005 she worked as an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse. Bill commenced working at St Vincent’s as a theatre orderly in 1999. A few years later he decided to upgrade his skills and undertook 18 months of studies to become an Operating Theatre Technician. Once he completed his studies, he was the only Operating Theatre Technician in Toowoomba at that time. His skills are highly valued and one of his many roles within theatre is the training of new theatre orderlies.

Since 1984, they have seen massive changes within the landscape of the hospital, with five major redevelopments. Maureen was working on the old St Luke’s Ward on the morning that we moved into a brand-new ward in the Mary Aikenhead Wing. As patients were showered or sponged, they were wheeled across to the new St Luke’s. It was busy, chaotic, and exciting as this new era dawned on the hospital in 1997.

They both have so many memories of their time at St Vincent’s. Remembering the hospital’s beautiful Spring gardens, and how many patients loved sitting out there in the explosion of colour. Wheeling the patients to the chapel for mass on Sunday mornings. There was often a rush to get them showered and ready. The joy and excitement of seeing snowflakes fall on the brick windowsills on a freezing July day in 1984 while working on the children’s ward. 

However, the most special memories they take are those of the people within the walls of St Vincent’s, the patients and the amazing people who care for them. The doctors and nurses, the orderlies and allied health workers, the pastoral care workers, the housekeeping and food services staff, the clerical and administrative staff and the engineering staff. And of course, our beautiful, gentle and calming therapy dog Jasper.

Those words were spoken with firsthand experience as they received this care themselves. In October 2016 Bill was diagnosed with throat cancer and they were so humbled and overwhelmed by the enormous generosity, care and concern shown to them from all areas of the hospital community, and especially from Bill’s colleagues in theatre.

A hospital can be shiny and new, with all the most modern equipment, however, unless it is filled with people who are skilled, with people who care and show respect, with people who go above and beyond, it will never have a heart. The Toowoomba community knows that and has stepped up over the last 100 years to help staff like Maureen and Bill always be part of our strong beating heart.

Better and fairer care. Always.

In a rapidly transforming world, St Vincent's has created a refreshed vision and strategy to help shape Australia's health and aged care future.