Dr. Cory Jenks, doctor of pharmacy, comedian, speaker, and author, sits down with Mike Giardina at the Symposium for Metabolic Health in San Diego, California. Why is a licensed pharmacist at a metabolic health conference? Well, Dr. Jenks has a very powerful message that has been transmitted through in-person events and his new book: “Permission to Care: Building a Healthcare Culture that Thrives in Chaos.” Dr. Jenks wants healthcare professionals to stop acting like robots and learn to adapt to the unexpected.
Through improv comedy, Dr. Jenks realized that he could communicate with his patients better. Dealing with patients is chaotic, Dr. Jenks explains. They are all different, with different backgrounds, different conditions, and different questions. He has learned to give up control and lean into the chaos. You have to learn to listen, be in the moment, and respond, he explains, and this is what improv is all about.
This is exactly the message he is passing on to healthcare professionals. No matter what department or specialization, Dr. Jenks thinks healthcare professionals need to be in the moment and get out of our comfort zones. This is what he challenges them to do at his events and in his book. It’s also a way to reduce burnout and build resilience, he adds. The principles he teaches can be applied right away, and they are not only for healthcare professionals — they can also apply to CrossFit coaches. The CrossFit affiliate can also be chaotic. Coaches are working with athletes from all different backgrounds and with different physical and mental conditions and different goals. And like healthcare professionals, coaches get asked questions about fitness and health all the time. CrossFit coaches can also learn a lot from Dr. Jenks, including how to be comfortable in the chaos — and maybe even thrive in it — how to listen better, be in the moment, respond quickly and with empathy. They can learn to humanize the experience and show their athletes how much they care.