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From Student Nurse to Nurse Influencer Rockstar - Meet Kati Kleber BSN, RN, CCRN-K

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Meet Kati Kleber! She is changing the nursing world for those just starting out in our profession. Taking her ideas and thoughts on what new nurses need to know to be successful in this field, Kati is an influencer in just about every social outlet.

From Student Nurse to Nurse Influencer Rockstar - Meet Kati Kleber BSN, RN, CCRN-K

For many of us who know of Kati Kleber, it's as a nurse on a cardiac med-surg step-down unit, the author of several books including Becoming Nursey, or as a speaker, blogger and podcaster specializing in educating and supporting brand new nurses. As if this is not enough, there is way more to learn about this super nurse that fuels and strengthens her passion within the profession of nursing.

Born and raised in Illinois, Kati declares herself "a midwestern girl at heart". Kati started her nursing journey after graduating from Parkland College in 2007 with an Associates Degree in Applied Science. (She also played basketball while studying nursing at Parkland). By 2010, she obtained her Bachelors of Science in Nursing at Iowa Wesleyan University. For the next 2 years, Kati worked as a nurse on a Cardiovascular med-surg unit in Champaign, Illinois. 2012 was the year that took her out of the Midwest, planting Kati in Charlotte, North Carolina working as a nurse on a Neurocritical Care Unit. Within a few months, the world would become familiar with Kati Kleber RN!

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Kati had always enjoyed writing but had no outlet until 2013 when she figured out how to blog on Tumblr and Twitter under the anonymous nurse persona named Nurse Eye Roll. Her passion was supporting and educating new nurses.

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"When I first graduated and began as a new nurse, I realized that there were a lot of things that we learned on the fly as newbies that I feel should have been provided to us. I started keeping track at the beginning of my career."
 

As her social following began to grow through the blog, one of Kati's friend recommended that she create her own website and begin maintaining social platforms to support it.....NurseEyeRoll.com was formed! Kati remained anonymous through her Nurse Eye Roll persona, adding humor to everyday experiences in bedside nursing. She began writing short but funny posts on time management, delegation and prioritizing. She gained even more popularity. Kati found that she was receiving many of the same questions from supporters and was spending countless hours tending to the blog and followers while still working a full-time job in a busy neurocritical care unit.

While searching for a way to be compensated for her work and hours blogging and also a way to provide answers and guidance to new nurses, Kati's friend suggested she write a book. She did just that. In 2014, Kati wrote Becoming Nursey. The biggest struggle at that time was her decision to become public with her real self, no more anonymity. She was encouraged by many trusted friends and colleagues to take credit for her work and revisit all of her prior writings to be sure no violations both personally and professionally had occurred.

In November 2014 Becoming Nursey was published and Kati Kleber was no longer hidden from the world. Since its release, it has sold over 20 thousand copies, has been re-published by the American Nurses Association (ANA), and is used by nursing schools and residency programs all over the country. When collaborating with the ANA, Kati made some changes to the first edition and added the title Becoming Nursey, Anatomy of a Super Nurse. Amazon's book description states: "Armed with tons of information- and lots of laughs-anatomy of a Super Nurse shines light onto the dark spots in a nurse's first year, equipping you with everything you need to become a successful bedside nurse".

As the book started to generate income, the blog started to gain sponsors, and Kati was asked to do some public speaking. She started to hear from healthcare professionals, potential sponsors and collaborators that they were having a bit of difficulty with the Nurse Eye Roll name. They understood the humor in it, but found it a bit hard to market, and possibly offensive to some. So after much soul-searching, Kati found herself at another crossroads....an opportunity to reinvent herself so-to-speak. If her passion for supporting and educating new nurses was going to be her focus, Kati felt that Nurse Eye Roll may not be the best way to obtain that goal. The name did not convey what she desired most and it began to require explanation...not what Kati wanted to be her focus. During this time of change in 2015, Kati was awarded Nurse of the Year by the Charlotte Business Journal and received the Great 100 Nurses of North Carolina Award and was a guest on the Dr. Oz show! Looking back, this is the time that Kati really feels was a turning point in her career.

Kati spent much time in 2015 and money rebranding her entire platform to FreshRN. This allowed her to focus her strategy, which she is so glad she did. Freshrn.com currently contains a blog and podcasts hosting a wide variety of topics for new and experienced nurses alike. It provides both practical information and encouragement for those beginning their bedside nursing career. The website also offers courses designed to educate and provide CE hours. Lastly, there are links to books that can offer more to beginning nurses, those new to the healthcare system, mentoring and precepting, as well as blogging advice.

The past two years have been a whirlwind of writing, blogging, public speaking and family growing! Katie and her husband welcomed their first child in 2016 and in December of this year are adding baby#2. Kati has partnered with the American Nurses Association again, publishing two more books. What's Next is written for the nurse who is no longer new, but is not the most experienced nurse on the unit. A nurse in this stage is starting to be asked to mentor and precept as well as take the charge nurse role. This book is designed for this time in a nurses career when the role starts to change and options open up for advanced practice and education. What's Next addresses these and other topics.

Admit One was written for patients or those entering the healthcare field and want to learn more about the flow and culture of the hospital. " I go into things like a nurse vs. nurse manager vs. CNA vs. NP vs. physician, the difference between consulting and attending physicians, what to expect from different levels of care, code status and more".

Her next book focuses on another area close to her heart. Having found her voice in blogging, Kati encourages nurses to blog as well. "I encourage nurses who have a specific passion to dive deep into that and think about how they can innovatively serve that niche." She motivates fellow nurses to be smart and productive with blogging. "We all see and hear enough complaining, and while writing may be a therapeutic way to deal with some of the challenging aspects of our field, publically publishing a blog simply to complain isn't going to go far." With this in mind, Kati and her friend Brittany Wilson BSN, RN independently published The Nurses Guide to Blogging which has been a huge success. "It lays out how to build a platform on a blog and a community around it".

These days, Kati is very focused on completing her Master Degree in Nursing Education. She and her family moved back to the Midwest in 2017 and she states she is very happy to be back to her roots in Illinois. She is still working PRN at the bedside in a cardiac med-surg/step-down unit. Kati feels it is important to keep her foot in the door of practice. "It is really hard to write about/ for an audience when you are physically removed from it. I find a lot of value in providing direct patient care". She works 12 hours a week at the bedside and spends the rest of her week working on her Master's practicum in hopes to complete it before baby #2 arrives. She has also recently released an online crash course for new nurses in neurosciences and is soon to release a cardiac course as well (available at freshrn.com/courses).

Kati is very present in the challenges of balancing her time with grad school, clinical roles, social media, and family. Speaking to these challenges, Kati says the key is "proactive communication with my husband (with whom she just celebrated 8 years of marriage with) and family. Intentionally disconnecting from the business/ platform and not being constantly accessible is a really important boundary to have and maintain. I also try to be keenly aware of balancing what I personally enjoy and what brings me joy and not stress/ anxiety, what challenges me, and what brings in income. She enjoys free time (watching Harry Potter, the Simpsons and The Office) and spending time with her family and two adopted dogs (coincidentally named Mac and Tosh...not adopted at the same time or named together..)

The field of nursing has been blessed that Kati Kleber found her public and professional voice years ago. She has continued to offer much to both new nurses and seasoned as well. Her career and path thus far speaks volumes to finding your passion and running with it... the number of nurses and patients/ families, and healthcare workers affected by Kati's passion in insurmountable! The power of one voice........

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My name is Sarah Matacale RN, BSN, CCS. As a nurse, I am a jack of all trades. I enjoy sharing the stories of nurse influencers with fellow nurses.

1 Like, 1 Follower, 32 Articles, 15,606 Visitors, and 46 Posts.

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