Help! I Need Somebody
asking for help..
It's not so easy - how do you ask neurosurgery at 4 in the morning to see your patient with subdural hematoma? Or when you have a really sick patient that you don't know what to do with, or a difficult airway but you're the most experienced person in the room?
- Harvard Business Review Ideacast - "Getting People to Help You" Episode #634
- Heidi Grant - "Reinforcements: How To Get People to Help You"
Why is asking for help so hard?
- We don't think we will get help
- We think asking for help makes us weak
- We fear rejection
Fears seem valid, but are they legitimate? According to Dr. Grant, no.
Bring on the Psychology - Cognitive Biases
- Illusion of Transparency - Tendency for people to overestimate the degree to which their personal mental state is known by others
- Egocentric Bias - We weigh our own perspective much too heavily when trying to consider another individuals perspective
- Spotlight effect - we think the audience can tell how nervous we are but they can't
- "The Spotlight Effect in Social Judgement: An Egocentric Bias in Estimates of the Salience of One's Own Actions and Appearance" - Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
- Bystander Effect - phenomenon when no one helps in a code/similar situation because they all think someone else is going to do it; partially due to illusion of transparency
- Diffusion of Responsibility - the more people around when you need help the less likely you will gt help
Poor Ways to Ask for Help
- Apologizing Excessively "I'm so sorry, but can you see this patient? I'm so sorry."
- Partially due to illusion of transparency
- No sense of fulfillment - people are wired to help people naturally
- Offering a Reward - "Can you see this patient for me? I'll buy you coffee."
- Feels like completing a transaction - not like helping a friend
- Making them feel manipulated - "Hey, can you do me a favor??" ... "Can you take me to the airport?"
- Not good for friends or colleagues you want to have good relationship with
- Forces someone to help
- Stopping short of the ask - "Hey, we have a patient with a distended abdomen and low pressure."
- Be direct in what you want - "I need you to come see this patient"
- Assessment oriented presentation, SBAR
- Controlling Help - "can you write this next podcast? Be funny, but not too funny. Make it short."
- Want some direction, but don't be too controlling
- Can be a beautiful thing -> new perspectives from people doing things differently
- Not telling them how it went
- Robbing them of feel good vibes afterward
How to ask for help
- Get over your initial fear of asking for help
- Be aware of the cognitive biases and be specific, direct with your need
- Avoid the mistakes above; let person know how their help was valuable
How can you make team more helpful when it isn't already?
Lead by example - takes someone on the team to make the change to shift the culture, snowball effect
- Asking for help isn't easy but be aware of our cognitive biases
- Medicine is a team sport - must act like a team
- Some of the busiest shifts can be the best with a good team, some of the easiest shifts can be the worst with a bad team
"Tripod Setup" by vickyleao1 is licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0 / Song has been cropped in length from original form