Pilots are like Pharmacists – Rx Radio

Pilots are like Pharmacists

No, Seriously.

I recently had a flight into Reno, Nevada, to go snowboarding in Lake Tahoe. On the flight, I had the pleasure of sitting next to a very nice gentleman. We ended up having one of the most meaningful conversations I’ve had with a stranger in a while.

Turns out, my new in-flight friend was an experienced pilot for American Airlines. He was flying back home from a simulation exam he had to complete to renew his license to continue to fly a specific aircraft. Commercial pilots have to do this yearly, btw. Before I knew it, we were reviewing flight plans for major airports, including Miami International Airport (MIA), one of the largest airports in the nation, also located in my hometown. Fun fact, every landing plan includes information for pilots on exactly how to land a plane if one of the engines has blown out. Crazy right?!

In deep conversation and really trying to learn what it’s like being a pilot, I finally asked, “and you know ALL this stuff?” He then replied, chuckling, “No.” It was that moment where I found that being a pilot is very similar to being a pharmacist. He continued to show me the thousands of pages of information that all pilots have at their fingertips. It included TONS of information about flying that particular aircraft, all stuff that they should know, right? I mean, they’re pilots aren't they?!

Well, some would say the same about us pharmacists, shouldn’t we know everything about every medication?

Well, yes, kind of. Not really. One of the important things about being a great pharmacist is not our ability to know everything, but more about our ability to find everything, and fast. And this is exactly how he explained what it’s like being a pilot. He didn’t have to know everything, but he sure did need to know exactly how to find everything. So, pharmacist, or future pharmacist, don’t beat yourself up about what you don’t know, but continue to craft your skill at quickly finding the information you need to know.

Thanks for reading.

Take care,


Richard Waithe, PharmD | Email: Richard@RxRadio.fm

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