Dr Dan Pronk – From Special Forces Doctor To Entrepreneur

In episode 86 of Founder To Founder, Phil talks to former army special forces doctor turned entrepreneur Dr Dan Pronk.

Dr Dan Pronk completed a Bachelor of Exercise Science at Griffith University in 1999 before studying medicine at Flinders University on an Army scholarship. Graduating with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in Dec 2004, he continued at Flinders Medical Centre for his intern and first residency year.

Dr Pronk entered into General Practice training in 2006, and subsequently completed his FRACGP in Jan 2011.

In 2007 Dr Pronk posted to his first Army unit in Darwin as a Regimental Medical Officer. In 2008 Dr Pronk posted to 5 RAR in Darwin and continued to serve with high-readiness infantry units in Sydney and Perth for the remainder of his full-time military career from 2009-2013. Dr Pronk deployed on operations on five occasions with the Army, once to Timor and the remainder to Afghanistan.

During his military career, Dr Pronk took a particular interest in the pre-hospital management of penetrating trauma and had the privilege of representing the Australian Army at the NATO Special Operations Forces Medical Expert Panel.

In 2014 Dr Pronk discharged from the full-time Army and commenced an MBA through the University of South Australia, which he successfully completed in December 2016. In November 2014 Dr Pronk also successfully completed Early Management of Severe Trauma instructor training through the Royal Australian College of Surgeons, commencing instructing in September 2015.

For the period of July 2014 – June 2015 Dr Pronk worked primarily in an Occupational Medicine role at BHPB’s Olympic dam mine site in South Australia, whilst also working periodically offshore.

In July 2015 Dr Pronk accepted a Senior Medical Officer role at a regional hospital in Queensland. He maintains his interest in tactical medicine through involvement with the Army School of Health’s Care of the Battlefield Casualty program, as well as acting as a tactical medical consultant for various police and other government agency groups.

In this episode Dan and Phil talk about how to manage being ‘in between’ ventures and transitioning from one life to another, how to manage the entrepreneurial rollercoaster and the three habits that founders need to develop to be successful.

3 Takeaways

  • Don’t underestimate the change an organisation needs to undertake from a team and culture perspective as it grows. This change needs to be managed and carefully and mindfully (12:03)
  • There’s only one way to eat an elephant; one bite at a time. This is might sound cliche but it’s an effective way to thinking through events, challenges and opportunities that can be overwhelming (20:49)
  • It’s not the critic that counts (26:35)

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