The Joseph Epstein Prize, named after esteemed College founder, the late Dr Joseph Epstein, is awarded to the highest scoring candidate at each Primary Viva Examination.
168 candidates sat the 2022.1 examination that was held in six regional centres: Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
Lawrence attributes winning the prize to planning, structure and a great study group. He said, ‘My study mates were good friends beforehand, but even more so afterwards.’ The group met up twice a week in the beginning and then more often as the examination grew closer. ‘We would focus on the important topics, nail them, and then focus on the areas we felt we could build on.’
Lawrence also says that being able to come together played a large part in alleviating some of the stress involved in studying for exams. ‘We work for ten hours, go home and relax, but when you’ve got an exam, there’s no time out, so it’s nice to share that with people who are going through it with you.’
He was confident he would pass the examination. ‘You don’t want to finish an exam and be anxious about the results. It’s a good three weeks of worrying. So, I prepared well to achieve that confidence. I wanted the back end of my knowledge to come through during the exam.’
He was out of range, hiking in Western Australia, when the results came through. When he finally accessed the email, Lawrence burst out laughing. ‘I felt relieved that the exam was over. My wife and I celebrated that night, took some drinks to a beautiful sunset spot on top of a hill and had a great night.’
Lawrence enjoys the challenge and team approach of working in emergency medicine. ‘I kind of like the stress of that work,’ he said. ‘I enjoy the challenge and working in an environment that has lots of different specialities involved, amazing nursing staff and allied staff. There’s a full range of highly-focused people, and for me that makes work enjoyable.’
The work life balance also suits his lifestyle. ‘Working in emergency provides opportunities for my wife and I to take time off together. Shift work isn’t for everyone, but it suits us.’
The Joseph Epstein Prize consists of a bronze medal and a certificate and is awarded at the annual College Ceremony.