BSANZ Writing Prize 2019

BSANZ Medical Student Essay Competition, 2019

The 2019 competition is the third biennial essay competition run by the BSANZ. This year’s competition has been an outstanding success, with entries from a range of medical schools in Australia and New Zealand. There were 75 entries from medical schools around NZ and Australia. The judging was done by a panel of local and international judges.

We wish to thank Alexa Gilbert-Obrart and Associate Professor Hamish Wilson for their tireless and dedicated work in organizing and administering the competition on behalf of the Board.

The prize winning essays and runners up can be viewed by clicking on the essay titles on this page, see below. Highly commended and commended essays and their student authors are listed further down the page.

The judges felt that the standard of description, reflection and writing was very high this year. It was very heartening to read from so many students about their compassion and commitment to patient welfare. The essays also revealed many of the challenges in being a medical student, such as how to maintain one’s own personal identity, while also learning how to act and behave ways expected of doctors. Many of the essays focused on death and dying issues; this is not surprising, as facing such clinical problems is one of the main challenges in developing one’s own professional identity. Such topics also lead to quite authentic responses, which may be why those essays emerged from the others. We feel choosing to write about those experiences can also be cathartic and helpful for these students. 

The two prize winning students have won the Lawrence Gilbert Memorial Prizes of $500 dollars each, as well as the BSANZ scholarship of $A1300 to cover registration to attend the 12th Annual BSANZ Balint Group Workshop, which will be held in Melbourne in October. The next BSANZ essay competition will be in 2021.


2019 Prize Winning Essays

Runners up

Highly Commended

A Simple Hand



Best Supporting Actor



Dear Harriet



The Odour of Acceptance



The sounds in the silence



The Weight of Five Little Fingers

BIGIO, Isabelle


To See Sarah

TAN, Katrina



Communicating bad news to a grieving Aboriginal family HOPE, Alec UNSW
Dancing Shoes DHITAL, Bal Newcastle
Dealing with an Emergency Situation SCHMIDT, Garry Otago
Discussing Spirituality in a Consultation with Mrs A, a Patient with Cancer HAMMOND, Callum Auckland
Exploring beyond the science, into the art of medicine PETRAKIS, Nikki JCU Mackay
Finding Jax MELLLIS, Isabella Otago
Grace SEILER, Natalie Melbourne
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata NIEUWENHUIS, Anneke Auckland
I’m Watching You HU, Joy Otago
Leave me Alone SANCHES, Gabriel Note Dame, Sydney
Lost in Translation CHAN, Emma Queensland
Samsara: A transition from life to death BHAT, Saiuj WA
Someone I once Knew MCKAY, Megan Otago
Stuck by a needle, not a decision MALCOLM, Georgia Otago
Taboo BELL, Natalie Otago
Thank you for your Time RATCLIFFE, Jason UQLD
The Dying Patient SCHMIDT, Barry Otago
The Nature of Healing LUN, Elizabeth UNSW
The wounds that hide in the womb MALLAT, George Notre Dame, Wagga Wagga
There is Always Time NGUYEN, Olivia Adelaide
Through the Walls BANSAL, Akhil Sydney
Tubes, Tears and Transition: A Medical Student’s Journey CHIN, Mary Kee Whye Monash
What suffering means to me? ZANG, Han Otago
Why me not you? HOVENS, Marcus UQLD