‘Think before you tweet’ argues prize-winning RGU student

A Robert Gordon University (RGU) student has scooped first prize in a national essay competition, coming top of the class against entries from across the UK.

Pharmacy Student Essay WinnerPharmacy student Christine Filion-Murphy, 27, won the annual Pharmacy Law and Ethics Association (PLEA) essay competition.

Originally from Ottawa, Canada, Christine submitted a 1,500 word essay which discussed the pharmacy professional’s code of conduct, with a particular emphasis on the responsible use of social media.

Christine was thrilled when she found out her essay had been judged the winner and also scooped her £500 prize money.

She said: “I am very proud to have won the Pharmacy Law and Ethics Association essay competition, it was a huge surprise. In my essay I argued that the fitness to practice regulations which govern professional students such as pharmacists, nurses and medics are fair in their current form.

“As health care education moves from the classroom to placements, student behaviour is more heavily scrutinised and by gaining experience in the workplace and adhering to the code of conduct, students come to learn that reputations matter in the professional world.”

PLEA’s essay competition encourages students to engage with a specific area of law and ethics. In previous years essays have probed subjects such as the allocation of scarce medical resources and the extent to which religious or moral beliefs should influence a pharmacist's practice.

With increasing scrutiny of material published on social media websites, Christine also argued that students who aim to join the professional ranks should consider what they post online.

She added: “One of the basic fitness to practice guidelines is to avoid putting questionable material on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. I argued that if this is difficult when you are 18 or 19 years old, it won't get much easier after you graduate.

“There have been a number of high profile examples recently where sensitive or offensive material has appeared on these sites and had a serious impact on the person responsible for the account. My essay concluded that if the pharmacy professional’s code of conduct and fitness to practice guidelines seem too strict in this regard it would be a good idea to re-evaluate your suitability for life as a professional in this field.” 


Release by
Ross Anderson
Communications Officer | Health and Sport

Robert Gordon University
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Tel: (01224) 262389