Advice For New Pharmacists and Residents – Don’t Listen to Others

Being in the heart of summer, there is a lot of transition going on for pharmacy students and residents right now.  I wanted to provide some unusual advice for new pharmacists and residents.

“Don’t listen to others.”

This is likely the absolute opposite of what you have been taught throughout school, but the truth is that if you want to do something that hasn’t been done, this is what you have to do.  Some may see this advice as arrogant, bold, inappropriate or downright wrong, but for a people pleaser like me, this is absolutely my best advice.  I spent the first 3-5 years of my professional career learning, listening and absorbing information from pharmacists who’ve been there.  I learned so much from those I worked with as well as from my professors in pharmacy school.

Then, I wanted to try something different.  I wanted to create a platform on the internet where I shared some of the lessons I had learned.  Here’s a few of the responses I received;

  • “That’s laughable”
  • “I think it is a bad idea”
  • “You’ll probably get sued”

As someone who has always toed the line and put a heavy emphasis on listening to those who’ve gone before me, those statements struck fear deep within me.  Being rejected, putting my license on the line, and potentially embarrassing myself went against everything I’ve ever known.

Those were all tough responses, but the response that temporarily broke me wasn’t even a word.  In the infant stages of, I had overheard someone telling a highly respected, senior faculty member about my idea and website.  I will never forget the eyeroll that I saw that day.  I was definitely heartbroken for a few days and wanted to quit the project.  I found inspiration and consolation in the podcast, Entrepreneur on Fire, and was able to come to grips with that feedback.  Some people just didn’t get it and I’d have to show them.  I’ve used that incident as rocket fuel to help keep me going and prove people wrong.

With uncertain times for many new graduates and the potential for a shrinking job market, the role of pharmacy as we know it is changing rapidly.  Stepping into new roles and thinking differently will be necessary. Those that are willing to take chances and stick their neck out will be rewarded with fulfilling work.  So my advice for new pharmacists and residents is to not listen to the naysayers when you have a game changing idea that you are passionate about.


  1. Alan Vogenberg

    WONDERFUL! Just remember the words of Bruce Roberts, former CEO of NCPA.
    I have used it as my mantra for many years. (and there are many people who
    don’t get the message.
    Without Pharmacists like you, we would still have only APhA (no NCPA),
    Consultant and Long term Pharmacy, even the schools of Pharmacy, and
    the Pharmaceutical Industry (born in Community Pharmacies). Community
    Pharmacists were taught to solve problems, and then innovated to solve that

    • Eric Christianson

      Thanks for the comment Alan!

    • Melissa

      Very inspiring! Thanks for being so honest with your experience.

  2. Keri Hager

    “When setting out on a journey, do not seek advice from those who have never left home.” ~Rumi

    • Angela Wampler

      Awesome quote

    • Eric Christianson

      Agreed, great quote!

  3. Amanuel T.

    There comes a time when people have to travel their journey through an unusual (not costmary) path to reach their destination. Pharmacy, as many other professions, finds itself at a cross-roads where an innovative and creative minds are badly needed for its survival.
    Thanks Eric for leading the way and all that you do in educating us.

    • Eric Christianson

      Thanks for the kind words Amanuel!


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Written By Eric Christianson

August 15, 2018

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