Critical Reflection

Help-Seeking Behaviour

The path to professional growth for nurses requires navigating moments of both vulnerability and resilience. It is important to acknowledge that seeking guidance or support is essential not only for delivering excellent patient care but also for our own personal health. After engaging in self-reflection, I have realized that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but rather an indication of strength. As nurses, we contribute to the healing process by weaving individual threads together to create a system of compassionate care.


As a dedicated healthcare professional, I have learned that seeking help is vital in delivering high-quality care. During my intensive care rotation, I had the opportunity to care for Mrs. Adams, a patient struggling with pneumonia. Despite my training and experience, I found myself feeling uncertain about the best course of action. That is when I turned to Nurse Rodriguez, a seasoned nurse with a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Together, we assessed the situation and worked to stabilize Mrs. Adams’s condition. At that moment, I realized that nursing is more than just providing medical care – it is about building trust and forming alliances with colleagues and patients alike. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness but rather a vital support system that benefits everyone involved.

Critical Reflection

Seeking help can be a beacon of hope when navigating professional, practice, and career challenges. It demonstrates a willingness to learn and grow rather than weakness. In my nursing studies, I learned the value of teamwork and collaboration, which fosters creativity and supports success. Through mentorship and practical experience, seasoned nurses showed me the importance of seeking help, sharing knowledge, and celebrating achievements. While I am comfortable seeking clinical advice for diagnoses and treatment plans, I find it challenging to express my emotional vulnerabilities and uncertainties. Nevertheless, I understand the significance of addressing these aspects to provide compassionate and comprehensive care.

Rational Discourse

The idea of seeking help has struck a chord with me, making me reconsider my assumptions. During a conversation with my colleagues, I learned that seeking guidance when dealing with a complex wound care situation requires emotional courage and vulnerability. It is not just about relying on clinical expertise. One of my colleagues shared her personal experience, and her willingness to expose her uncertainties was a gift not only to herself but also to her patient. Another seasoned nurse reminded us that, as nurses, we have limitations and cannot be expected to have all the answers. We should celebrate our gaps in knowledge and wear them as badges of authenticity. One of my colleagues shared stories about her interactions with diverse patients and highlighted the importance of cultural humility. It made me realize that help-seeking is not just about clinical dilemmas but also about understanding cultural nuances, bridging language barriers, and respecting diverse beliefs. Her wisdom reminded me that humility knows no borders.

Transformative Insights

Reflecting on this discussion so far and immersing myself in the research literature, I notice a subtle transformation in my perspective that influences how I view help-seeking behaviors. The first literature I reviewed was from a study done among university students by Aranha et al. (2022). There is a clear presence of self-examination, self-treatment, and reliance on the Internet for healthcare information. These students demonstrate varied approaches to seeking help for both physical and mental health issues. A study by Raza et al. (2022) suggests that addressing help-seeking behaviors can alleviate stress among emergency department nurses, regardless of their natural inclinations toward action. Managers are encouraged to guide nurses toward seeking assistance in uncertain circumstances to mitigate stress levels. According to Han et al. (2023), it is crucial to concentrate on enhancing nurses’ resilience to enhance the quality of clinical nursing. I believe that this underscores the importance of leaders and organizations implementing comprehensive strategies, such as resilience training programs and improved organizational support, to bolster nurses’ resilience effectively.

New Understanding

This journey of self-reflection has allowed me to understand the complexities of seeking help, blending insights from both personal experiences and research. Aranha et al.’s study sheds light on the multifaceted aspects of seeking help, emphasizing that it goes beyond just clinical proficiency to include emotional intelligence, cultural humility, and resilience. It is a holistic approach that encompasses various dimensions. Raza et al.’s research challenges the misconception that independence equates to strength, highlighting that seeking assistance is not a sign of weakness but rather an acknowledgment of our shared humanity and interconnectedness. It is about fostering collaboration and trust. Managers are portrayed as crucial figures in encouraging help-seeking behavior during times of uncertainty, serving as a lifeline rather than just offering empty words. By voicing uncertainties, individuals contribute to a culture of support and collective problem-solving.

Han et al.’s emphasis on resilience resonates deeply, emphasizing that it is not just about bouncing back but bouncing forward. Resilience is nurtured through various forms of support, including mentorship, peer assistance, and self-compassion, ultimately strengthening both individual and team resilience. Embracing Maria’s wisdom on cultural humility, I understand that seeking help involves honoring diverse perspectives through active listening and learning. This ripple effect extends beyond oneself, leaving a legacy of vulnerability that serves as a valuable lesson for others, including novice nurses, patients, and families. In this intricate tapestry of understanding, I discover the interconnected threads of compassion, courage, and connection, highlighting that help-seeking is not an isolated act but rather a collaborative dance—a symphony of care.

Plan of Action

As I reflect on my journey, I realize the crucial role of making deliberate changes in how I approach seeking assistance. As a leader, it is my responsibility to create an environment where asking for help is not only accepted but also encouraged, fostering resilience. My first action plan is to embrace vulnerability. I will let go of the facade of self-reliance and, instead of shutting the door on uncertainty, welcome it and seek collaboration. I will refine my active listening skills, not just providing answers, but also listening to my team members’ concerns, uncertainties, and aspirations. I will integrate discussions about seeking help into our daily conversations, making it a natural part of our team dynamic. Furthermore, I will advocate for mentorship opportunities within the team, pairing experienced individuals with newcomers to create a network of support and guidance.

Acquisition of Knowledge and Skills

Active listening is crucial in understanding diverse perspectives and goes beyond just hearing the words spoken (Aranha et al., 2022). Nurses need active listening skills to truly grasp their patients’ needs, fears, and expectations. As a nurse leader, I will employ active listening to create a supportive environment when colleagues seek guidance. Cultural competence is an important aspect of resilience and allows for holistic care that I will adopt when nurses understand cultural nuances. Cultural competence should be an integral part of effective healthcare and leaders should cultivate this awareness within their teams. Resilience is not innate but can be nurtured through strategies such as addressing help-seeking behaviors, resilience workshops, mentorship, and self-compassion (Liu et al., 2023). Leaders should equip their teams with these strategies as resilience is essential for thriving patient care.

Future-Focused: Nurturing Help-Seeking Behaviors in Nursing

I understand and appreciate the changes I have made in seeking assistance. These changes have not only influenced my personal development, but also patient care, creating a network of healing. It is important to understand the significance of these transformations. I have realized that self-sufficiency is an illusion. I no longer feel the burden of always having to know everything. Asking for help is not a flaw in my character but a demonstration of courage. The literature supports this evolution. Aranha et al.’s (2022) research reminds us that introspection and the use of online resources can coexist. In this digital age, I will guide colleagues and patients toward reliable information while respecting their independence. Patient-focused treatment is my guiding principle, and active listening is the key to truly understanding my colleagues and patients. When a patient expresses symptoms, concerns, or aspirations, I will listen to them beyond their words. Their stories offer insights into recovery. Raza et al.’s study emphasizes that when nurses actively listen, patients feel acknowledged, heard, and empathized with, ultimately leading to a decrease in stress. It is not just about diagnoses; it is also about compassion.


Throughout this introspective adventure, I have discovered valuable gems – the bravery to ask for assistance, the skill of truly listening, and the strength that flourishes when vulnerability and teamwork intersect. As I take charge in the future, I will cultivate these seeds, intertwining them to create a harmonious melody of empathy and support. It is my hope that my journey toward progress resonates in every moment, providing reassurance that we are never alone.


Aranha, P. R., Lobo, M. R., & Patil, S. (2022). Assessment of health-seeking behavior among undergraduate students at a university. Journal of Health and Allied Sciences NU12(04), 385–391.

Han, P., Duan, X., Jiang, J., Zeng, L., Zhang, P., & Zhao, S. (2023). Experience in the development of nurses’ personal resilience: A meta-synthesis. Nursing Open10(5), 2780–2792.

Liu, S., Zhang, Y., Liu, Y., Han, P., Zhuang, Y., & Jiang, J. (2023). The resilience of emergency and critical care nurses: a qualitative systematic review and meta-synthesis. Frontiers in Psychology14, 1226703.

Raza, B., St-Onge, S., & Ahmed, A. (2022). How help-seeking behaviors help reduce emergency nurses’ stress? International Emergency Nursing63(101177), 101177.