How to Ask for Help (Nursing)

by Amber Vanderburg

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    00:00 Airline safety tells us that if a plane is going down and oxygen masks are necessary, you must put on your own mask before assisting others.

    00:13 Why? Because if you cannot breathe then you will not be helpful to those around you.

    00:21 The same concept applies in your work.

    00:24 This brings me to another important aspect of communication.

    00:29 You need to recognize when to ask for help.

    00:34 First, understand that you cannot do everything yourself.

    00:41 If you are going to do or achieve something bigger than yourself, then you will have to include more people than yourself.

    00:50 In fact, if you can achieve your dreams all on your own, then you are probably not dreaming big enough.

    00:57 When you are providing healthcare and you have questions, you are confused, overwhelmed, or frustrated, lean on your team to help.

    01:08 Listen to your body, listen to yourself, recognize when it is time to ask for help.

    01:17 This does not mean relying on the team to do your job.

    01:21 It means relying on them to help you be successful.

    01:27 Situations where you might ask for help could be with a full patient load, a question about the course of care, or a challenge with a physical task such as moving a person.

    01:42 When you do ask for help, I want you to consider the urgency of your request.

    01:49 Ask for help by communicating the scope and the timelines of your request.

    01:55 This could look like this..."Hey, do you have a few minutes in the next hour? I'm having some trouble with this." or "Could you help me with this later today?" If the question or challenge is non-urgent and if you can possibly predict what the challenge might be such as moving a person, then try to be proactive in asking for help and creating more bandwidth for your team to prioritize their day to help with your request.

    02:30 If a matter is more urgent, then communicate that as well. Note that not everything is urgent.

    02:39 Sometimes, you might have even 15, 20 minutes leeway for your team to organize and come to help.

    02:49 When asking for help specifically, give the scope of your request and the timeline of your request.

    02:57 Be clear in your request for help. If you have a question or are seeking clarification, help the person to understand the context in a clear manner.

    03:11 Prepare your question in a way that quickly gives a synopsis of the situation, the area of confusion and the question for action.

    03:22 After this quick synopsis, I want you to explain what you have already tried, what your thought process is.

    03:31 Let the person know the initiatives you took before you called for help.

    03:38 This will give the helper more context to not only give you the answer, but also better guide you to find the answer in the future.

    03:49 After you have received help, say thank you.

    03:54 This sounds way too simple, but is too often forgotten.

    03:59 Manners matter. Recognition is important.

    04:04 A person is significantly more likely to help you again if they feel appreciated for taking extra time out of their day to help you develop as a healthcare professional.

    04:16 Say thank you. Also, make yourself available for help.

    04:24 Be available to support the entire team that has ownership of the patient care.

    04:31 Ask how you can be of help and try to prioritize your team to be available for your team.

    04:39 You can't do it all yourself. This is important so I will say it again, you cannot do it all yourself.

    04:51 Asking for help makes you a better healthcare professional and will empower you to provide more excellent patient care.

    05:01 So, how can I help you today?

    About the Lecture

    The lecture How to Ask for Help (Nursing) by Amber Vanderburg is from the course Communication in Healthcare (Nursing).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. What they need help with
    2. When help is needed
    3. What will happen if help is not received
    4. Why the nurse cannot complete the task independently
    5. What has the nurse already done to avoid asking for help
    1. A synopsis of the situation.
    2. The area of confusion.
    3. The nurse’s thought process.
    4. What the nurse has already done to try and address the confusion.
    5. What will happen if help is not received.
    1. “Can you help me transfer my client into the chair in about fifteen minutes?”
    2. “Can you come to help me with a transfer?”
    3. “Can you come to see me in room five? I need help.”
    4. “Can you come to help me with my client in fifteen minutes, please?”

    Author of lecture How to Ask for Help (Nursing)

     Amber Vanderburg

    Amber Vanderburg

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