Suggested Learning

Insight: RGU Pharmacy Law and Ethics Group x Katie Waghorn

RGU Pharmacy Law and Ethics (PLE) is an entirely student-led group, founded by Lara Seymour in 2015 at The Robert Gordon University (RGU), Aberdeen. Lara was successful in The Pharmacy Law and Ethics Association (PLEA) Essay in her first year at RGU and her success inspired her to begin a group which deals with the legal and ethical dilemmas pharmacy students and pharmacists face in their practice. The group was formed with the goal of encouraging students to engage with topics which may not be touched on in the MPharm syllabus, therefore enhancing their skills when it comes to dealing with ethical issues.

The PLE Group holds annual events in Semester 2 of the academic year, previous events included:

  • Fitness to Practice Case Studies: a joint event with the Pharmaceutical Defence Association (PDA) (2016)
  • Debate: ‘Should non-UK citizens pay for NHS services?’ (2017)
  • Debate: ‘Should pharmacy students always remain professional online?’ (2017)
  • Debate: ‘Could self-injecting facilities have a positive impact on public health and communities?’ (2018)

The Group found that debates have a good turnout of students and enable those involved to speak up and put their arguments across, as two students usually argue FOR and AGAINST the motion. As a result, PLE is holding another debate in February 2019 with the title: ‘Is it in the patient’s best interest to ban sale of OTC opioids to reduce addiction and harm?’. At each debate, a guest speaker is contacted to give a background of the topic and answer any question before the discussion begins. Previous guest speakers have been from Alcohol and Drugs Action and

Through the society, group members and students from out-with the group have had the opportunity to voice opinions and ideas, with some of their work being published which has led on to recognition and success at pharmacy award events. By attending PLE events, students can put themselves out of their comfort zone, which is where some of the most valuable learning is achieved. As a result of this, I encourage other students to create groups and societies similar to the PLE Group, as it can be sure to have a positive and lasting impact on your own performance and future practice and others around you.

I began as the Publications Officer in PLE in September 2016. My role to begin with was to construct a bi-annual newsletter for the group, discussing ethical issues, upcoming events, pharmacy news and updates on individual student successes throughout the MPharm degree at RGU. The newsletter is emailed out to students and published on our Facebook and Twitter pages, with the goal of inspiring students to keep up-to-date with interesting topics in their field of study. I progressed to Group Leader in September of this year, and I feel as though the experience I have gained through PLE has enabled me to consider what is ethically right and wrong during debates and improved my confidence with regards to my own opinions and ideas. Being part of a group like PLE inspires you to learn more about your subject area and encourages you to interact with interesting information regarding topics which may not be discussed day-to-day.

I believe that the Pharmacy Law and Ethics Group at RGU is important as the Group bridges the gap between students throughout the MPharm degree and all ethical matters in pharmacy today. The Group allows students to build skills and gain knowledge on topics which will benefit them throughout university and in the future as they will have the confidence to deal with issues they may not have had experience of before. The controversial topics discussed through PLE events help students to think outside the box, one of many valuable skills to have as a future pharmacy professional.

This article was written by

Katie Waghorn

PLE Group Leader 2018/19

4th Year MPharm RGU



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