Do Nurses Ask for Help?

by | May 15, 2017 | 9 comments

Do nurses ask for help? 

In my experience, not so much. What tends to happen is the following…

Charge Nurse: “Jane, do you need anything? How are you doing?”

Jane: “Fine. Nope, I am all good.” (While Jane may be silently drowning and desperately in need of help)

Why do we do this?
  • In my book, Stop Nurse Burnout, I speak of the lone ranger syndrome and our conditioning as nurses.
  • In this video, I talk about asking for help and how it can support your nursing career development.

What would you add to this discussion? Have you ever asked for help as a nurse? If so, what was the experience like? Did asking for help make your nursing career any easier, better, or some mixture of both? Let’s talk about it! Share a comment below and thanks for watching.

p1050390About the Author: Keynote speaker and virtual conference host, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Nurse’s Week program, The Art of Nursing, Elizabeth supports nursing organizations in celebrating and recognizing their staff in a meaningful way. Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bull.


  1. Sierra Marie Baker

    Yes! This is so true…nurses don’t ask for help. Maybe they feel it is a sign of weakness or that they aren’t capable of doing their job but the reality of it is, is that we NEED help to effectively and safely do our jobs. I used to be a nurse who said, “I’m fine, I got this.” until I realized how much smoother my shift went when I accepted help and delegated tasks when I got behind. You’re right, it’s OK TO ASK FOR HELP!

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks, Sierra!

  2. Susan Allison-Dean

    Some of this behavior may be ingrained because the reality is often our coworkers are too busy ( exhausted, overwhelmed) to help so we don’t bother to ask. Kind of like a bunch of drowning victims treading water, climbing on to someone else will only drown the two of you. I think the bigger question is asking the public, patients families, corporations, etc. for help and drop the superhero image. Your example of asking for help outside of work is a good one-recharge every chance you get.

    • Elizabeth

      Great additional insights . Thanks, Sue!

  3. Tiffany

    As always, you present a great topic! I have to say in my nursing career , the environment I work in has always been very supportive and always encouraging us to ask and offer help to each other. I think working in this environment has been one of the reasons why I have yet to experience the dreaded burnout. Thank for that! I have no problem asking for help…. at work. However in my personal life, I like to play the typical “super women” role and it gets exhausting! Recently like you, I have noticed this and now have less trouble asking and accepting help. It’s what we’re all here to do anyways… help each other and allow others to help us.

    • Elizabeth

      Right on Tiffany! And great to hear of the awesome teamwork in your work place. Yes, now let’s have that spill over to home life too. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Cassandra Herbert


    I use to have issues with asking and receiving help in my personal life and as a nurse. Like Tiffany mentioned I had the superwoman syndrome. About four years ago I recognized my “I got this” behavior” was causing overwhelm, exhaustion as well as resentment. So I made a conscious decision to let it go and say yes when people offer to help me and to also ask for help. The asking for help is still something I am developing but the receiving is something I say YES to all the time. I have attracted more people wanting to help me and I have gotten some really great things by saying yes. It is something I also coach my clients on because they’ve got the superwoman syndrome too. (smile).

    BTW I love that you create experience when you have people over. That is something I also enjoy doing.

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks, Cassandra! Appreciate you sharing your experiences here with us.

  5. maryjane

    true and informative.


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