BSANZ writing prize: May, 2017

In 2015, the BSANZ introduced a reflective writing prize for medical students in Australia and New Zealand, essays to be based on their learning experiences of the student-doctor relationship. This competition is now a bi-annual one, held in the alternate years to the Ascona Prize from the International Balint Federation.

The next BSANZ competition will be held in 2017, with a closing date in May (to be announced). Deans of Medical Schools will be notified of the dates and conditions in early 2017.

Competition aims

  • To encourage medical students to be more aware of the doctor-patient relationship and its impact on themselves and on patients’ health outcomes
  • To encourage medical students to write reflectively about their experiences of the student-patient relationship, and/or about their observations of the doctor-patient relationship
  • To increase medical students’ awareness of the importance and significance of their own interactions with patients
  • To encourage medical students to be more aware of the work of the Balint society and its focus on the emotional content of doctor-patient relationship.

Instructions for students

A detailed presentation of a personal experience of a student-patient interaction or relationship.

Reflection: Review or reflection on how the student experienced this relationship, either individually or as part of the medical team. Analysis should include the student’s own perception of the situation or challenges faced and how he or she responded.

Implications or ‘critical reflection’: Discussion about ways in which the student’s own approach might change in the future, and/or also possible ways in which medical training might enhance the capacity of students to engage thoughtfully and compassionately in patient care.

Useful tips:

  • Consider using a short and accurate title that reflects the content of the essay in some way.
  • Focus more on the student/doctor-patient relationship than on ethical analysis.
  • Previously submitted assignments for normal course work are best re-worked and edited specifically.

See details of the outcomes of this competition in 2015, including three winning essays, at
BSANZ competition 2015