A New Skill For Dietitians To Learn: Improv

Published on: 08/17/2022
skills for dietitians

In this week’s episode, I am joined by the wonderful & creative Krystal Merrells! She is a Canadian RD who teaches healthcare providers how to implement improv into their practice. 

Season 2 Episode 14 “Improv 101 & Why We Need Creativity in Dietetics! Ft. Krystal Merrells, RD”

More Information About Krystal 

  • She has a private practice and specializes in TBI survivors 
  • She has always loved theatre, drama, and artistic pursuits 
  • She lives in Ottawa with her family and dog 
  • Krystal wants to see more creativity being celebrated in dietetics! 

What Is Improv? 

The full term is improvisational theatre. Krystal describes it as “working without a script”. It is popular in: 

  • TV shows such as Whose Line Is It Anyways?
  • Comedy events 
  • Long-form storytelling on the spot 
  • Partner improv and discover the scene together 

Improv is acting at the moment with the information you have been given. 

Krystal believes that everyone applies improv skills to their daily life because not every conversion is scripted. Likely, you are already practicing improvisation skills without knowing it!  

What Makes Someone Good At Improv? 

Krystal believes there are two core elements in being good at improvisation: 

  • Listening closely
  • Deciding how you want to react or respond

Again, you can probably think how these skills could be immensely useful in real-life scenarios. 

How Can You Incorporate Improv Into An RD Practice? 

Krystal states there are a few ways to incorporate improv skills into your dietitian practice: 

  • Useful for collaboration with peers 
  • Can make you feel more comfortable sitting in silence
  • Being selective on how you move forwards in conversations 
  • Use “Yes and,” with clients and give them space to express their ideas 
  • Feeling resilient as a business owner
  • Accepting that is OK to fail, it’s OK if you flop, you will get back up again 

Krystal loves teaching dietitians and other health care professionals how to use applied improv skills. It helps people put themselves out there when they may otherwise shut down.

Is Improv In Healthcare A Thing? 

Yes! Krystal confirmed that med schools will teach improv skills to students to help them in the workforce. 

During the interview, we have a brief discussion about how different the healthcare landscape would look if we all had these skills to lean on. 

Think of a time when you felt on the spot and unsure what to say to a patient or a peer. Improv can help you feel more confident during these tough moments. 

Here are kind words of encouragement from Krystal:

I asked Krystal: “What kind of tips could you offer to someone who wants to try something new, like improv, but is scared to put themselves out there.” 

She responded, “Accept that it’s not going to be perfect and it’s not going to feel great. You can plan all you want, you can anticipate all you want….but messy action never feels 100% comfortable and that’s OK.” 

If you want to learn more about Improv and why it could be a valuable new skill for dietitians listen to the episode! You can click play below. 

Did you miss last week’s episode? No problem, click here to get caught up: Starting A Virtual Assistant Business!

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Julia Zakrzewski is the host of the Freelance Dietitian Podcast. She is a clinical dietitian turned freelance writer and now she can’t stop talking about freelancing!

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