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Four decades on the road for Mildura paramedic

March 14, 2024 | in Community News

A Mildura paramedic said the career is a “privilege”, as he reflected on 40 years of service at Ambulance Victoria (AV). 

Brian Pike reached the impressive milestone on 7 March, after beginning his career as an ambulance officer on that day in 1984. 

“The 7th of March 1984 was the day of the Moomba Parade,” Brian said. 

“I went to Moomba first, watched the parade and then went across to the ambulance training centre in Vale Street, East Melbourne, to begin my career. 

“I was in class 25C and met 17 other new recruits from across the state, including another from Mildura, John Williams, who retired from AV just last year.” 

Now working as an Advanced Life Support (ALS) paramedic, Brian said the job has been special.

Brian Pike holding a cake and a picture frame commemorating his forty years of service with Ambulance Victoria.

Brian Pike at a celebration to mark his 40-year anniversary at AV.

“I always found heading off to work interesting and enjoyable, so 40 years has flashed by,” he said.  

“The most enjoyable part of the job for me is meeting people and learning their stories, both my colleagues and the public. 

“I enjoy the kudos that comes with being in a position where people rely on you and are comfortable with you coming into their homes and assisting them. 

“I don’t know of too many occupations where you can go into someone’s house and start asking them questions and for them to be comfortable to give you the answers.  

“That to me is a privilege and a responsibility.” 

Brian started out his career at the age of 24, with no medical experience. 

At the time, becoming a paramedic – or an ambulance officer – involved regular month-long stints of study in Melbourne plus on the road training at the location where the individual applied for a job. 

“I had some friends who were already in the ambulance service and they said it was a very good occupation,” Brian said. 

“I didn’t have experience but I was already in another emergency service, as a volunteer with the CFA, so I had that emergency service mindset.” 

Brian remains a CFA volunteer – where he is due to celebrate 50 years of service. 

Across his 40 years with AV, Brian has held a number of different roles, such as Health Commander at several events including the Red Hot Summer Tour, Mildura ski races and the local bushfire command centre. 

He’s always worked across north-western Victoria, never far from his hometown of Mildura, which he said brought challenges at times. 

“A lot of people I go to assist, I already know,” he explained. 

“It can be a difficult situation if you respond to a case involving someone you’re related to or that you know well. 

“However, I’ve enjoyed it from the start and throughout my 40 years, the work has been very positive.”

Paramedic Brain Pike standing proudly in front of an ambulance.

Brian Pike.

Now at the back end of his career, Brian sees his role as that of a mentor to his younger colleagues. 

“I enjoy working with them – our current clinical standard through the university course is exceptional,” he said. 

“The one thing my younger peers lack is experience, which can only come with time.  

“I see my role as to be there to offer a bit of advice in certain situations, and otherwise to hang back out of the way and support them.” 

Brian said he’s beginning his “transition” to retirement, but that it’s not really on the cards just yet. 

“I’m still enjoying being fully involved on the road as a paramedic,” he said. 

“One of the things I haven’t quite come to terms with is what I’m going to do when I’m retired and not having the ability to go into AV and do what I do.  

“I think that’s one of the big things for a lot of us retiring paramedics, that it’s been such a lifetime experience.”