The BSANZ Medical Student Reflective Essay Competition

The Board of the Balint Society of Australia and New Zealand (BSANZ)  invites medical students in Australia and New Zealand to submit an essay to the BSANZ Essay Competition, which is held every two years.

Entries for the 2019 competition have now closed.

The judges are always delighted and moved by the standard of entries received in the competition.
The winning essays in the 2019 competition will be announced later in the year, and then published on this website.
Prizewinning essays from previous competitions are published on the website, see the links at the top right of this page.

General information

Reflective essays submitted should describe a student-patient relationship, an experience, or experiences, from within the student’s medical studies and include critical reflection on personal meetings with patients. Material already used for course work can be re-worked for submission, but previously published work for medical theses or diplomas should not be submitted. Each essay should include:


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


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, the 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.


Submissions are sent by email to:

Students entering the competition will also receive the regular BSANZ email newsletter about the activities of the Society. There is an unsubscribe option at the bottom of every email so you you may opt off at any time.


  • The Lawrence Gilbert Memorial Prizes of A$500 is awarded to each of the two top essays.
  • If students are willing, the top essays will be submitted for publication to the relevant medical journals.
  • Winners or runners-up may be offered subsidised attendance at BSANZ annual workshops in Australia or NZ.

Helpful tips

  • Please give your essay a short and accurate title that reflects its content
  • Essays must be in English, between 1000 and 2000 words
  • Please use 12-point font, 1.5 spacing, Word documents only, not PDF
  • Essays should focus on the student-patient relationship rather than on ethical analysis
  • Explain all abbreviations or acronyms. Use pseudonyms rather than patients’ initials.
  • Previously submitted course work must be carefully reworked to de-identify the course, the university and city or town
  • The top essays for the competition in 2019 will be announced later in the year.

BSANZ Writing Prize : Results and top essays 2017


BSANZ Writing Prize : Results and top essays 2015


International Balint Federation Ascona Prize