At NurseGrid, we believe in the power of community. To us, community means sharing experiences, offering support, and making connections. We created these monthly Spotlights for that reason – to showcase you, share your stories, and ensure your voice is heard.
Meet Kati Kleber, MSN, RN, CCRN-K
Tell us about yourself!
I've been a nurse since 2010 and worked in both cardiac step-down and neuro intensive care, and am now a nurse educator, author, speaker, and podcaster. I have a passion for educating new nurses in particular because I remember how tough that first year was. I've written a few books, maintain a blog, and created a podcast courses to help newbie nurses transition to practice.
I am married with two kids (and two rescue pups!), and live in East Central Illinois. When I'm not creating content for new nurses, I'm probably watching my continuous loop of the Office on Netflix, listening to podcasts about history or crime, or pretending like I know the difference between good and bad wine.
What inspired you to become a nurse?
I honestly don't have an inspirational story with what led me into this career. I began college in 2006 with a focus in elementary education and quickly realized that it wasn't for me, even though I had a passion for education. I decided that I enjoyed the medical field and education, and thought nursing would be a wise path. I began taking the prerequisite courses and found out I loved nursing. So, it was a very practical decision that led me to my passion.
What do you love most about NurseGrid technology / NurseGrid app?
I've been using NurseGrid for years. I think what I love most is that its customized to fit the nurse's unique scheduling needs and streamlines communication. Adding shifts, messaging colleagues, and updating the schedule (that frequently changes!) on the go is really helpful in staying organized and saving time.
How do you balance work, life, family, personal time? Self-care?
It's hard to "have it all" like Liz Lemon, but it's possible. It really comes down to self-awareness, boundaries, and being intentional.
Self-awareness is a crucial aspect of self-care. It may sound redundant, but you have to know yourself in order to take care of yourself. For example, I know that I have a tendency to overcommit and sign on to things that will stretch me too thin. If I'm stretched too thin, I'm stressed and therefore my time when I'm not working is limited and I'm not as engaged. Being aware of that enables me to make better decisions instead of just saying yes to everything.
Boundaries enable me to engage as much as possible in a meaningful way with those around me when I'm with them. I want to be as mentally present as possible for each respective area of my life when I'm there, so if I'm not disconnecting from work by answering emails on the weekend, or picking up yet another shift, then I'm not being the wife or mom I need to be. I can't be everything to everyone - I have to have an awareness of the needs of myself and loved ones, and prioritize appropriately. This means graciously declining many things, and excitedly accepting a few.
Time passes us all by so quickly, so making the most of it is such a deeply important aspect of living a meaningful life. I only commit to things that bring joy and value to my life. So I will intentionally plan meaningful time with my children, family, and those who are important to me, rather than just hoping that'll happen once I get my to-do list done. I've learned the to-do list only grows and waiting until that's done to do meaningful things is a fruitless endeavor.
What piece of advice would you like to pass on to new nurses / nursing students / to the nurse community?
Give yourself grace when you make a mistake and do not isolate yourself. Don't over-identify with some of the life-altering pain your patients and their loved ones experience, otherwise you can become consumed by it. Be aware of it, acknowledge it, and stay present while maintaining perspective. Talk to a counselor (most hospitals offer free private counseling) if you are having trouble disconnecting the dots between work and home.
Through it all, be kind to yourself.
What do you wish more people knew about being a nurse?
Nursing care is incredibly complex. We're more than the person who passes medications and gives baths. While people know medical care is quite advanced, I don't think people realize that nurses are providing that advanced care. Providers complete many complex tasks, but nurses are the ones who manage the equipment and technology continuously after its been placed. Step into an ICU and you've got nurses running ventilators, extraventricular drains, impellas, dialysis, arterial lines, central venous catheters, all while managing multiple drips and medications simultaneously infusing. The scope of a nurse's practice is pretty extensive and I wish the public were more aware of how advance our care truly is.
Tell us about you and why you began your side hustle, FreshRN
My transition from nursing school to the bedside was tough, and I quickly realized that everyone's transition is terrible. A few years after I felt like I had acclimated into the role of a nurse, I decided to start a blog to support other new nurses. The blog turned into a book, and then a podcast, and then a few more books, and now I write courses for new grads as well. I've since obtained my MSN in Nursing Education, speak nationally, and run the FreshRN® online platform to support new graduate nurse transition to practice.
Spotlight Bio: Kati Kleber is a nurse educator and founder of FreshRN®. She creates educational material in various forms like blogs, podcasts, books, and videos specifically for new nurses. Kati is a published author with the American Nurses Association, national speaker, and has been featured by many media outlets including US World News and Report, Reader's Digest, the TODAY Show, Dr. Oz, and more. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.