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Leaving Should University With Dr. Jerrica Dodd


Meet Dr. Jerrica Dodd, a remarkable pharmacist and entrepreneur with 24 years of experience. She's the visionary behind Your Pharmacy Advocate LLC, pioneering advocacy-focused care for patients' better health outcomes.

As a sought-after speaker, Dr. Dodd shares her wisdom on stages, guiding women in pharmacy to build impactful businesses. Moreover, she's the proud Executive Editor of PharmaSis Magazine: Celebrating Women in Pharmacy which recognizes the brilliance of women in pharmacy.

As Dr. Dodd phrased it, before she was living her truth, she was the "valedictorian of Should University." Her personality was to be respectful of authority, and as a pharmacist, she was very risk averse - fitting nice and neat into whatever box society approved of.

That changed when she hit a wall and was confronted with severe burnout.

She had to make the choice of leaving her job - regardless of what others had to say and make her life work for HER, not for what others expected her to do.

Join us in celebrating her incredible journey of leaving expectation behind and dedication to advocating for patient care and empowering women in pharmacy. To connect with Jerrica, visit her LinkedIn


Watch Jerrica's Story



Jennifer: Welcome to the I Don’t Give a Should Show – a podcast exploring ALL the ways that women SHOULD all over themselves. How many times do you find yourself acting out of obligation or doing what everyone ELSE expects from you without stopping to consider why? Where do all those beliefs that are driving you come from? If you’re tired of feeling resentful, overwhelmed, stuck, exhausted or pissed off you’re in the right place.

Shoulding all over yourself is a real thing, but it doesn’t have to be in the driver’s seat.

I’m your host Jen Sherwood, and I spent waaaaay too many years trying to prove that I was good enough and worrying what other people thought while avoiding conflict at all costs. Today, I don’t give a should – well not as many anyway and neither should you. I’m talking to women like you who figured out how to stop shoulding and start LIVING.

Today, my guest is Dr. Jerrica Dodd a pharmacist and entrepreneur, a coach, and a leader. She's been a pharmacist for 24 years, and is the founder and CEO of Your Pharmacy Advocate LLC with a mission of providing pharmacists advocate care for patients seeking better health results. 

She has spoken on stages all over the country – she is a coach to women in pharmacy to build businesses and she is the proud Executive Editor of PharmaSis Magazine: Celebrating Women in Pharmacy. It's amazing, you all, it's beautiful - you have to check it out and Dr. Dodd gets joy from traveling, reading, cooking and attending cultural events. 

I am so thrilled that you are here, I got to hear you speak at an Elevated Pharmacy Summit and I was so inspired by your story that I was like, on a mission like how can I get to Jerrica on here? How can I talk to her? How can I share her story and I'm so grateful that you agreed to do this and that you are here today so welcome.


Thank you for having me – it's my pleasure to be here, and it was my pleasure to meet you after the summit.


I can't wait, so okay, because I can't wait because I get so excited. 

Let's do this Jerrica, will you please tell us what it was like for you when you were living under the shoulds?


Well, as you were giving your intro I was thinking like I was the valedictorian of Should University because I think by nature, my personality is one that's definitely respectful of authority, which is you should be this way. 

As you mentioned in the intro, I am by training a pharmacist and pharmacists are very risk averse. I like to say that they definitely color between the lines, they don't color outside of the lines. They usually fit nicely and neatly into whatever box society, healthcare world, our families, whatever box they think we should fit into. So as I said, I was the valedictorian of Should University, because I checked all those boxes, and I fit into them as a pharmacist should.


What does that mean to you? 

Does that mean like, your family had certain expectations of how life was going to move along for you sort of the typical, you'll go to school, you go to college, you'll get that data, tada and you did all of that, or what did that look like for you?


The expectation was that I would go to college, and I don't know that I would have done anything differently. I was definitely able to pick the major that I wanted, however, I think that society in itself, I mean, if I asked you, what do you think of when you think of a pharmacist, usually people respond and go, oh, the person at the drugstore, who fills my prescriptions. 

That's what many people think a pharmacist should look like so I've always had a job, if you will, outside of the normal, what pharmacist what people think a pharmacist should look like. Not only did I have a job that was outside the norm, but when I left that job four years ago, I think people thought I'd lost my mind. Never mind that I was falling asleep while I was driving because I believe I had just hit a wall and burned out. 

However, how could you leave like that's not what you're supposed to do, right? You have this job, you've reached this level of “success,” so what are you doing? What do you mean that you're going to sell your house and move across the country and go live in a city that you love. 

That's not what you should do and so many people, it was very interesting as I started making changes in my life, and that drastic one was definitely leaving my job because I needed to do something to take care of my help, or I wasn't going to be around for long falling asleep while I was driving. And so, in that process, understanding that many people have ideas for what your life should look like, many, because, you know, people assume that pharmacists are rich. 

I mean, there's all kinds of stories that even go along with the should, because stories actually support what you should be like, because this is what I think of when I think of a pharmacist. They're very smart. They have a lot of money. They're so you should not leave your job. You should not go live in a city that you love – you shouldn't do that.


Yeah, what was happening before you decided to leave?

You were saying that you'd hit a wall, and you're falling asleep while you're driving? What led up to that was what was happening in your life, where, and what I'm wondering is, you know, were you shoulding on yourself, and trying to do certain things but what was happening?


Probably unconsciously to myself, because I grew up and I just remember from the time I was eight years old, my dad saying to me, it's not your job to make everyone else.


Oh, what a wise man though.


How do you tell an eight-year-old that? 

I mean, that was a very wise thing, but eight, but how do you know not – if that's what you see in me. He didn't say and this is how you don't make good points so yeah, I remember that. He said it but it was something from that young, that I just grew into a people pleaser. And so when you start down that dangerous slope of people pleasing, I think a lot of shoulds come from there because the people that are used to being pleased by you go well. You should do this and you should do that, because that's what pleases them. 

I think that I just slid right into the Should University, and that cap and gown fit very well because at eight years old, someone had already identified that I didn't have to do that, though. How do you tell an eight year old and train an eight year old not to? 

When I got to the point of, you know, falling asleep. And while I was driving and all of that, it was because I had spent many adult years trying to make everybody else happy. Because I thought that's what I should do. I thought that my family needed me – I thought that my church where I was on ministry staff knew that nobody could do without my help. I should help them, I should help them before I should help myself so a lot of the shoulds, I think, became my understanding of where my place was in the world. Then I think, like I said, some of it comes from family, and some of it comes from society, and everybody has expectations. At that time, the burnout came from supporting my father, who has stage four lymphoma, and supporting him through a chemo and radiation journey, supporting my mother through stage, triple bypass heart surgery, and supporting her through resulting dementia. That happened, that resulted when she came out of that surgery. 

Then ultimately, five months after that I had brain surgery and I remember talking to the neurosurgeon and thinking, well, what happens if I don't do this because I'm so busy taking care of everybody else, and serving and doing what I think I should be doing. I really wasn't even willing to even consider that I shouldn't be taking care of myself.


Hold on, hold on. 

I want to stop that for just a second so you find out from the neurosurgeon that you need brain surgery, and you think, well, but Mom has this, and Dad has this, and I have all these people to take care of. I don’t really have time to take care of myself so what happens if I don't do this?


That was literally my question.

He shrugged his shoulders – he was very matter of fact, he says, well, you will be paralyzed and I don't want to ask another question. What happens if I don't do this was a very pivotal question but this one I think, is even more pivotal. 

Then I said, how long do I have? So literally, I was asking him how long can I push it? How long can I not take care of myself until I become paralyzed? If he and he said to me, he actually said was that I don't have a crystal ball – I can't answer that for you but what I can tell you is that you have one of the worst cases we've seen that I was willing to ask, how long do I have which basically, I was saying, how long do I have until I'm paralyzed because if he had said, okay, so you'll be paralyzed on July 16 and I would have been like, okay, let's have the surgery on July 15.

I was, and I think, you know, now when I think back on that event, I can't even believe that I went, if you have to ever go see a neurosurgeon, I would suggest you take someone with you, because you don't go see the neurosurgeon about playing hopscotch, the neurosurgeon about him doing surgery. I can't believe that I went by myself – I had no one else in the room, and I am trying to be human and get this news, but also be a healthcare professional, and I was not in the place to do that because obviously, you see, logic was not even ruling in that conversation, from my standpoint, because I'm trying to pull it off months. I'm trying to have all these conversations about what if I don't like I've got options, I only have one option be paralyzed or not.



Was this the catalyst? Was this the thing that finally made you say enough?


Yes,but is it interesting, because humans have amnesia and we talked about that when we first met and I gave you an example of why we have amnesia. Even though I was like, okay, everybody else is going to have to wait, the chips are gonna just gonna fall where they fall. I needed to have surgery, and when that took place, I got better. I went right back to what I used to do, what I should be doing, what people expected of me. It's no wonder that two years later, I'm falling asleep while I'm driving. 

As number one we've ever had brain surgery, which most people have not. There's more than just the surgery – it's not like, okay, done. There's so much that I don't even think that I was prepared for psychologically, mentally prepared for much less the physical piece of having surgery. 

I went, as soon as I was cleared, I went right back to work and got back on my hamster wheel. Remember, I was the valedictorian so I had to do what I was supposed to be doing and two years after that, I was exhausted and found myself falling asleep while I was driving, no one could figure it out. It was this really nebulous ailment, there was no answer – the neurosurgeon was like, hey, I'm done. I did the surgery. There's nothing else for me to do here. 

The neurologists really kind of like, ah, I don't know, and so what I realized was that, in that short amount of time, I had gone right back to not prioritizing Wi-Fi. I believe that for me and my journey, that the way God gets my attention is through me paying attention to my health because I'm like, okay, I'm falling asleep while I'm driving – I don't know, I just can't turn out well, I don't have narcolepsy so there's not really that explanation. 

I made one of the biggest decisions to leave my job, and so you can imagine, because the people who are used to you doing what you should are watching and you're making a decision, because you're now all of a sudden going to choose yourself. They're going, you know, don't you can't, are you sure? 

I felt like I had no choice. It was, I was like, if I keep going at this rate, I'm gonna kill myself, I'm gonna kill somebody else, or both.


It almost reminds me of what you said about when you met with a neurosurgeon, and the choice was be paralyzed or not. That was, you know, God's first knock, and then the second one was, I'm gonna fall asleep at the wheel and kill myself or kill somebody else. 

These are big, you know, flashing neon signs that got your attention, thankfully and so this happens and you decide that there's something about the job, there's something about the way you're living your life that isn't serving you. 

This is the thing that made you wake up or become aware. What did that look like? So you left your job? You know, I think people fantasize about having something happen like a catalyst and then like you you went right back to what you were doing. 

This is your second catalyst, so what did you do differently so that you didn't just walk back into Should University? What did you do to help you shift through this?


Well, I, as I said, had to leave because it was like, okay, if I keep going at this rate, somebody's gonna be collecting a death benefit pretty soon and so, though it was frightening at the time, I had to jump.

I trusted God, and I bet on myself and I didn't realize it at the time but now when I look back, I've been jumping for a long time, I just was making a bigger jump. I jumped into what I tried to plan out ever so carefully. Doesn't it work like that entrepreneurship? By the time I made the decision that I needed to leave, it was like, I don't have any time to call up a planner. Let's lay this all out and look at it from all angles, as my analytical pharmacist self would like to do. 

That time it was like, you know what, this is the day, this needs to be my last day? I don't know, but I'll just have to figure it out. So figuring it out, figuring it out, came at the price of relaxing and being able to sleep. Not having that, oh, I'm afraid I'm gonna wreck this company car because I'm falling asleep at 70 miles an hour. Even if it's just for a split second, yeah, your life can change in a split second, absolutely. It became this intriguing, like, okay, I've got to figure it out. I've got to figure out how to do this. I know, I'm a smart lady, I know I can do it. 

I've just got to find the right people to guide me along, and so I started looking into coaches who can coach me to go from this point to this point. And I had already hired coaches before I left my job but now it was like this is do or die, this is sink or swim. 

This is if I want to eat so or I want to have a place to live, we've got to do something. And if you know anything about pharmacists, we were not trained to make money, if you will, we're trying to fill prescriptions and take care of patients. Yeah, from a clinical perspective that doesn't make you individually money, whatever entity you work for, but here I was going, I've got to figure this out. 

I believe that when you need to figure something out, especially as an adult, it's why you don't try to go buy the piano lessons book and sit at home and teach your child how to play piano. You're someone who knows how to do this, and I'll pay for the knowledge and so that's what I did. I just started putting one foot in front of the other. It has, I mean, when I look back, it amazes me, because what I thought I was going to do when I first left, my job, doesn't look very close to what I actually do. Now, the people I would have never guessed the people that I would meet along the way. Never had my head up looking around to meet the people that I meet today, I would have never, I don't think I would have ever taken advantage of the opportunities that come before me. 

I don't think that I would have traveled the way that I did pre-pandemic. I just think of all those experiences and go, well, if I had kept my head down and just kind of shrugged my shoulders and kept doing what I should be doing. You must know that when you do something different than what society or the world or family or friends or your peers think you should be doing. People definitely watch and pick up on you because usually they don't have or have never had the strength, the willingness, yes, guts, the whatever you want to fill in that blank to do it. 

When you do it, they lean in and they look and go, she's doing, and these days in the world of social media people can see you know.


You found the strength. 

You and it sounds like for you faith was a big part of this coaching and faith and really elevating yourself educating yourself and doing what was the next you just kept doing the next step to get you where you are. 

So what is life like today?

One thing I want to say is there are, and I actually want you to speak to this since you are the valedictorian. I don't think this should ever 100% go away – it might be like coming up with a new way to manage it differently. 

As I asked this question, what is it like on the other side of the shoulds? I want to be clear for our listeners, I don't want to be unrealistic, should still come knocking at the door, but it's how you deal with it – so what is life like today?


I'll say first that relationships are different. 

Sometimes that can be a little unsettling to you, the years a certain way, yes, you're not that way anymore. They don't know quite how to handle that, and so you may have relationships that go by the wayside. I think that that's a healthy thing that we're not to, sometimes some people are not meant to be in your life forever. I think that you reach a new level of, I still have things that I'm fearful of but having had brain surgery, oftentimes I compare and go, well, it's not worse than brain surgery.


You can actually say that.


Not worse than brain surgery. 

Also just what has become what I think when, and I use the word amazing. It feels like riding a roller coaster. You know, even like when I've been on, I haven't been on a roller coaster in a long time because of brain surgery. I can't ride them anymore however, it used to feel so exhilarating. Even if you were afraid of the height, just that momentum that would build as you inch up the hill. You know, you're looking at your seatbelt, like, okay, I got this on, this is gonna be good. It's working, right? This is hooked in, you know, that fear rises because you're like, okay, I know, okay, we're at the top of the hill and then you know, the little car sits still,

But then when you go down the other side of that incline, and that exhilarating feeling, and then obviously you get down and go right back up. That's what this journey has been like, I've met some of the most amazing people. 

I have had my wit's scared out of me at times, I have literally not known what to do at all moments. I have failed. And we just spoke about social media, because of the work that I do. If I fail, it would be pretty public. I'm amazed that the people who get on my zoom and go, I've been following you for years. Then you're like, oh, my gosh, I didn't even know – I didn't realize how many people were watching. There's that piece, but I have taken more chances than I think I would have if I had stayed in my little comfortable box. If I had allowed the regular way of what a pharmacist should look like to pervade in my life. 

I don't think I would know nearly the people that I know, I wouldn't have had nearly the experiences that I've had, I wouldn't say this is fun.


Talk to us a little bit, so you're not a traditional pharmacist anymore. So talk, tell us a little bit about how you're working now and who you work with. So


I don't know if I was ever a traditional pharmacist. 

I don't know, I don't practice in that regard like what you would imagine anymore. I help women in pharmacy, find their voice, build their brand, and market themselves to the world. It's not what we were trained to do and as our profession changes, and you have more and more women who are stepping out and becoming consultants, or, you know, following their heart's desire, I have two former coaching clients, who are very much pharmacists, but they were like, I want to be a fashion stylist.

They have built businesses doing that and I love using that example because it's there, that's not how the average analytical brain, which is to be more creative, if you will, what I coached women to find their voice, build their brand and market themselves to the world. Many come and don't have that confidence to begin with. However, it's there – we just have to move some of the shoulds out of the way so that they can stand up and go, you know, I can do this. You know, I will do this and I loved doing this. 


It's so creative, and it's so innovative. 

I just love there's so much joy, emulating from you about what you do and I'm certain that that's how your clients feel when they are also able to sort of put aside the expectations, the shoulds and really go for that joy as well. 

I want to tell our listeners you don't have to be a pharmacist to benefit from Jerrica. I'm not a pharmacist, I'm a former audiologist, as most of you know and so I really want to just say that because there's just so much inspiration in watching you and listening to you. 

You don't even have to be somebody who's trying to build a business. This is she's just, there's so much about letting go of the expectation and should in building that confidence. 

Can you tell our listeners where they can find you?


I hang out on LinkedIn quite a bit – it's my largest platform, following and usage is on LinkedIn. They can send me a message in my profile as Dr. Jerrica Dodd, they can send me a private message or direct message can follow me, I have a group of women, it's called Women in Pharmacy - What's Next?!

I am preparing to produce a three day experience called Women and Pharmacy Nothing Held Back because I believe, and not necessarily it wasn't based upon what we shouldn't do. But because we do a lot of shitting all over ourselves. We do hold back, we hold back who we really are, we hold back our dreams, we hold back what we can offer to the world, because someone has somewhere said what we should be doing so I will be training for three days in that experience to help women stop holding things back.

I'm also definitely responsive on Instagram, Facebook. 



Okay, we've got you, and we'll put this in with the posting so that people can learn too easily Jerrica, thank you so so much for being here. This has been such a pleasure, but really, it's just been such a joy. 

I just get so much just even being around and chatting with you so thank you for sharing your story. I really appreciate it and those of you that are listening, join us next time.

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