Meet the Nurse Behind Nurse Eye Roll: Kati Kleber

How long have you been a nurse and what areas of nursing did you or do you currently work in? I’ve been a nurse for 5 years.  I worked on a cardiovascular and thoracic surgical stepdown for 2 years and have been in neuro ICU for the past three years. 

You have a blog called Nurse eye roll – What makes your eyes roll the most and what are your biggest concerns about nursing?

What makes my eyes roll the most is when I urgently have to start multiple drips and the IV pump doesn’t work. My biggest concerns for nursing is the shortage coming up coupled with hospitals trying to keep their budgets as lean as possible.  I am also highly concerned about RN-MD relationships.  I think there is really inconsistent expectations and communication from both parties.  Many physicians don’t fully understand what nurses can do with their license and also how they actually care for their patients, and understand little about the training to becoming a nurse, which is vastly different from what they experience.  Many issues and mistakes occur because of breaks in communication and I think if residents were required to shadow nurses for a certain amount of time during their residency, it would have a profoundly positive effect on how they practice.

What do you love most about nursing?  I get a lot of joy out of helping people when they cannot help themselves.  Being there to support people during a really difficult time in their life is very special to me and I love being able to provided that support.

What throws you off balance and how do you know you are out of balance?  I get anxious easier and irritated quicker.  I also make poor decisions about eating and my time management when I’m not taking these steps. 

What brings you back into balance?  I like to consistently work out, do yoga, walk my dogs, spend quality time with close friends and family, and time one-on-one with my husband. 

Tell me your most unusual or interesting story as a nurse.  I’ve had so many of these – and the best ones are actually in the book!  I have done and seen quite a few odd and interesting things.  I’ve taken maggots out of someone’s foot, I’ve done a wet to dry dressing in which my entire hand was in a man’s chest cavity, I’ve held a patient’s head while a neurosurgeon drills into their brain, and I’ve defibrillated someone and they immediately threw up on me.  I could go on for days..

Tell me about your most favorite nursing job and why.  Well, I have only had two bedside nursing jobs.  My favorite of the two is definitely the neuro ICU.  I love critical care, old people, and neuro.  It’s my ideal nursey niche.  However, I love writing about nursing almost as much as the job itself.  

Each interview I do, I ask nurses to give advice to new graduates your case, I can direct new grads to your blog that offers a lot of support to new grads Nurse Eye Roll as well as your book Becoming Nursey. Could you offer a few key helpful points for new nurses in this post?

My main helpful points for new grads are:

1.  Be honest about what you don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask questions and get clarification about things.

2.  Take care of yourself – don’t pick up a bunch of overtime that first year while you’re trying to get your nursey feet wet.  That gets really overwhelming really quickly and you don’t have enough time to really learn and absorb information.  Get rest on your days off, work out, eat healthy, do non-nursing things.

3.  You’ll be task oriented in the beginning, which is expected.  Your critical thinking skills will get better with time.  Once you master skills, you’ll become more efficient and tasks will take less and less time to complete, and then you’ll start to pick up on things you didn’t before. It’s a process of nursey growth – don’t get discouraged!