It was 2001 when Grant Seater followed in his father John's footsteps and became a paramedic.
"I always admired Dad with what he did as a job and then when I left school I went to uni to do nursing ... in that time I did some observer shifts with Dad and some of his colleagues," Grant said.
"When I saw that first-hand I was like, 'this is what I'm supposed to be doing'."
Now, more than 20 years later, the Ballarat father-son team will work their last shift together when John Seater retires on April 27.
Both father and son are Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) paramedics, which means they are trained to make complex medical decisions without consultation.
MICA paramedics can perform advanced procedures like airway management, manage complex head injuries, administer into bone drug and fluid in pediatric patients, treat life-threatening chest injuries and provide advanced management of cardiac conditions.
It can be immensely high-pressure work.
Grant said a bonus of working with a loved one was the understanding support John could provide after a stressful shift.
"I find it more beneficial to talk to colleagues that you respect, or were at the job who know exactly what happened, and therefore, you know, I'd rather talk to Dad," he said.
John agreed, adding the vicarious trauma and difficulties of paramedic work were best debriefed with someone who understood the experience first-hand.
"We tend to talk about that amongst ourselves to ones that we can confide in ... Grant and I, we've been to cardiac patients, we've been to trauma patients, wounded car [accidents], we've been to pediatrics, we've been to a SIDS together," John said.
"You can be very aware that a lot of that stuff is just under the surface - and it can surface at any time."
And in terms of any challenges working together?
"Grant's biggest issue is calling me 'Dad', sometimes he doesn't know whether to call me Dad at certain jobs or whether it's John or Johno, and I think, 'who's he talking to'," John said with a laugh.
Reflecting on their time together, the pair look to each other with pride.
Grant said he admired John for the "pure love of the job" that had fuelled him over the course of his career.
"Particularly doing the job for so long, doing shift work for that amount of time and still having that love of the job," he said.
"The biggest satisfaction I get is the amount of respect that Dad's had through his peers, particularly a lot of the younger people that have come up through the years.
You can be very aware that a lot of that stuff is just under the surface - and it can surface at any time.- John Seater
"Dad's almost like a father-figure to them and he's just so highly regarded - not just as a paramedic, but as a good person."
Moving from a career in banking, John joined Ambulance Victoria in 1987 "with very little in the way of medical background," and said he had loved the job from the start.
John said he was proud Grant had forged his own way within the service.
"He's a great paramedic, he's a clinical instructor ... that makes me extremely proud and I've seen him on jobs we've worked together - he's very, very competent at what he does and his patient care is second-to-none."
For John, he said he was looking forward to finishing up and spending more time with family - and after almost 35 years at Ambulance Victoria, he knew it was the right time to retire.
"I'm finishing at a time that I know is right for me - on my terms, I'm not being forced out with ill health, which a lot of people unfortunately do, mentally I think I'm in a good spot, physically I'm in a good spot," John said.
"We only get one life - now's the time to embrace the rest of it and move on."
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