Pharmacist Entrepreneurs – Why Are Pharmacists Terrible Entrepreneurs?

I shared a variation of this blog post about pharmacist entrepreneurs on – you can also check it out here:

As I was helping my dad on his family farm about 5 years ago, I had an idea.  Why not start a Facebook page or blog designed to help nursing home staff and pharmacy students better learn medication management?  Who wouldn’t want to have the opportunity to help millions of people across the world?

After I thought about a couple of positive things about the project, I immediately shifted to fear.  What if I make a mistake?  What if I get sued? What if my employer has concerns? What if I say something controversial?  As I had more thoughts down this road, my training in pharmacy school kicked in and this really explains why pharmacists are terrible entrepreneurs.  If you make a mistake as a pharmacist, what happens?  People die.

In my mind, pharmacy school is the most stagnant, uncreative, place I have ever been in my life.  I didn’t really recognize it at the time, but it is so apparent now. Guidelines, standards of practice, systems, and on and on… Pharmacy school is a “box-checkers” dream.  Get an “A” in this class, be president of some organization, take this elective, be nice to this instructor, do this rotation, sign up for this residency, get published in this article…I think you get the point.  With the vast amount of information that needs to be crammed in during pharmacy school, it is understandable that creativity, social media connectivity, and entrepreneurship is not high on the teaching priority list.

I grew up on a farm (and the type of farm without a “ph”).  Farmers are some of the most creative people on the planet.  Why are they creative?  They have to be.  When it is late Saturday afternoon with a potential rain storm coming on Monday, and the store that has the part you need isn’t open until Monday, you have to be creative.  You have no choice.  In this type of situation, there isn’t really a disincentive to at least try something.  Worst case scenario you are probably out of a little time and effort. Best case scenario, you are able to fix what you wanted to and get back to work before the storm.

Back to my journey.  Because of the fear of doing something outside the box, I sat on the idea for about a year.  The rest is now history.  The last several years have been a compilation of failures and lessons learned that I never would have had the opportunity to grow from if I hadn’t tried in the first place.  Pharmacists are terrible entrepreneurs because we are scared that failure = death.  My mindset has completely changed.  Failure = living.

What’s your biggest fear?

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Written By Eric Christianson

January 14, 2018

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