Interview with Dr. Nneka Unachukwu

On this week's episode of the PNC podcast, Dr. Nneka Unachukwu discusses how starting her own practice as a physician entrepreneur has empowered her to create the career in medicine she wants.

A pediatrician by training, Dr. Una began learning how to run her own practice unintentionally while working her first job. When a relocation forced her to find a new opportunity, she was a bit unsure what to do.

Only 15 months out of residency, she did not imagine that it would be possible to start her own practice. But her employer/mentor reminded her that she was doing most of that work already.

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Equipped with Optimism

One benefit to Nneka being so young when she started her own practice was that she was a bit naïve about the potential risks of the venture. Un-phased by challenges, and equipped with optimism, she leaned into the business opportunity. 

Nneka soon realized that being a clinician and a business owner were two different skill sets. So, she immersed herself in learning entrepreneurship in order to quickly build her practice.

She began by studying other private practices, and answered these questions: 

  • Which services do they offer? 
  • What kind of brands do pediatricians project?
  • Are they tracking their online reviews?
  • How good (or bad) are their reviews?
  • What do people like about them?
  • What do people hate about them?

Then, she began to learn the language of entrepreneurship. She read business books, watched YouTube videos, and asked questions of other practice-owners. 

The second step was taking (sometimes messy) action. Nneka found that she had to pick a direction and take action, learning as much as possible along the way. Then she would refocus and shift if necessary. 

The Successful Physician Entrepreneur

One of the early steps Nneka recommends for physicians who want to start their own practice is building a team. Start by hiring an attorney and an accountant.

She advises physicians to lean into the business principles such as marketing and branding. She believes that every physician entrepreneur should be a speaker. It's the easiest way to introduce yourself to a large number of ideal patients/clients. 

As she continued developing herself as a physician entrepreneur, Nneka learned that physicians with more successful practices were not necessarily the best doctors, but those with the business skills needed to attract patients.


You're never going to figure it all out. You're never going to have all the questions answered. You're never going to have a perfect time… Just take action. And the second you start taking action, the next step will be obvious.

Dr. Nneka Unachukwu

Teaching Others

Nneka enjoyed implementing the business techniques she learned, and she began to teach others how to do the same. So, she established her own consulting business. She started by helping other professionals locally. Now, she advises physicians who want to make a change to their medical careers nationally and internationally.

She also advises those she calls intrapreneurs: full-time employees who have no interest in leaving their jobs, but simply want to use business skills to advance their careers. By branding themselves, and using those skills to advance their employer's success, intrapreneurs will accelerate their own advancement.

She also advises physician entrepreneurs who focus completely on nonclinical work. And she recently began hosting the EntreMD podcast. Her goal is to help 80,000 (10%) of the roughly 800,000 physicians in the United States advance their careers by applying the principles she teaches.

Links for today's episode:

I hope you enjoyed today's interview with Dr. Nneka Unachukwu (Dr. Una). Next week, I'll present my conversation with Dr. Michelle Bailey, an academic pediatrician who now works full time as medical director for a Contract Research Organization. She will explain what a CRO is, and how to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry.

Thanks to our sponsor…

Thanks to the UT Physician Executive MBA program for sponsoring the show. It’s an outstanding, highly rated, MBA program designed for working physicians. It might be just what you need to prepare for that joyful, well-paying career. You can find out more at

I hope to see you next time on the PNC Podcast.

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Podcast Editing & Production Services are provided by Oscar Hamilton.


The opinions expressed here are mine and my guest’s. While the information provided on the podcast is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge, there is no express or implied guarantee that using the methods discussed here will lead to success in your career, life or business. 

Many of the links that I refer you to, and that you’ll find in the show notes, are affiliate links. That means that I receive a payment from the seller if you purchase the affiliate item using my link. Doing so has no effect on the price you are charged. And I only promote products and services that I believe are of high quality and will be useful to you, that I have personally used or am very familiar with.

The information presented on this blog and related podcast is for entertainment and/or informational purposes only. It should not be construed as medical, legal, tax, or emotional advice. If you take action on the information provided on the blog or podcast, it is at your own risk. Always consult an attorney, accountant, career counsellor, or other professional before making any major decisions about your career. 

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