Hospital orderly helps close gap in operating theatres


For the past 37 years Mater Private Hospital Rockhampton operating theatre orderly, John Hustler has been bringing smiles to the faces of patients and calming the nerves of those feeling anxious about having surgery.

The Birri Gubba man’s extraordinary service to Mater patients has now been recognised with a Mercy in Action Award at this year’s Mater People Awards.

Mr Hustler, who started working at Mater in 1986, is proud of his Indigenous heritage and values his family and wider community.

Mater Health Executive Director Paul Darcy said Mr Hustler epitomised the three pillars of the Mater Mission: Values, Vision, and Reconciliation. 

“John loves going to work, and what he enjoys most about being an orderly is looking after patients and learning new things,” Mr Darcy said.

“He often assists and represents Mater in the reconciliation space and continues to develop relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and within the wider community.

“His compassion, along with his kind, gentle and encouraging demeanour, calms and reassures anxious surgical patients who come to theatre.”

A stalwart of a local basketball association, Mr Hustler’s organisational and communication skills are highly valued, Mr Darcy said.

“One example is the time there was an anxious teenager in theatre awaiting surgery,” Mr Darcy said.

“John found their common link of basketball and was able to reassure and relax the teenager by chatting to him. 

“He’s a much-loved member of the Mater team and respected by administrative, medical, nursing, and ancillary staff members.

“He strives for excellence and has undertaken formal study, successfully completing an Operating Theatre Technician Cert 3 in Health Services. 

“His humble but confident manner, combined with his expertise and willingness to always help, has endeared him to all levels of staff in theatres.”

In his community roles, Mr Hustler is an ambassador for improved health within the community as well as at Mater.

One of his colleagues described him as a “living treasure” at Mater Private Hospital Rockhampton.

To see the full list of 2023 Mater People Awards winners, click here.

Pictured: John Hustler.

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