Inaugural Winner of Peter Dervan Memorial Medal Speaks About the Award

Thu, 26 February 15 08:58

What made you decide to compete for the Peter Dervan Memorial Medal in 2014?

I am goal orientated and as I already had an interest in Urology, I felt that it presented a great opportunity to see if I could be successful having set myself a challenge in relation to Urology pathology. I particularly liked the fact that the 'leg work' done in previous years was recognised, and was a significant consideration when determining the winner of the Award.

How did you decide on a topic for the viva voce?

I spoke with various people working in Clinical Pathology and then following a discussion with Mr Kieran O’Malley, Consultant Urologist, at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital, I decided to focus my attention on prostate cancer.

The viva voce can be a daunting experience, how did it play out for you?

I must admit that presenting my work to a panel comprised of so many distinguished professionals was incredibly nerve wracking. While I was obviously most concerned with the task at hand, I was also very much aware of the fact that one day, these people could be my peers and I certainly didn’t want to leave anything less than positive lasting impression on them.

Having completed the presentation, the panel set about posing questions which effectively saw me having to defend my work. It is a highly pressurised situation but I understand that it is an important part of the process as in clinical practice, differing opinions on issues such as patient management will arise and we need to be able to act with confidence and have the courage of our convictions.

Has being awarded the medal impacted on your medicine journey in the year that has followed?

I've worked very hard during my time at UCD, and I am proud of a number of achievements, but I am most honoured to have won the Peter Dervan Award. While a career in Urology had been beckoning for some time, it can be a notoriously difficult speciality to get into, particularly in North America. However, the award gave me the confidence boost I needed to press on and I have just found out that I have been offered a Urology residency in the University of Nebraska Medical Center which I will take up in June of this year.

Do you have any advice for students considering putting themselves forward for the medal this year?

If you like a challenge and can choose a topic that you have a genuine interest in, I would say go for it. Prepare well as the viva voce is highly competitive and you must be willing and able to present your work at a level which is acceptable to a panel comprised of extremely accomplished professionals.  All in all it proved to be worth the challenge and one which I know will stand to me in the years to come. 

Further information about the Peter Dervan Memorial Medal is available here. Please note that those wishing to participate in this year's competition must submit module results by Friday 27th February 2015 by 5pm.