As some of you may know, my anonymous online nurse persona used to be Nurse Eye Roll®. Alas, that is no longer the case. I wanted to write a blog post to answer the question I receive frequently: what happened to Nurse Eye Roll®?
Where Nurse Eye Roll® began
In 2013, I started an anonymous Tumblr and Twitter nursing account. I wanted to connect with nurses all over the world about those common things that we experience within our profession. The heartbreaking, hilarious, happy, and sad things. I decided to name my accounts “Nurse Eye Roll” (or @NurseEyeRoll, respectively).
Why Nurse Eye Roll?
When trying to think of a name, I tried to think about something hilarious that nurses could easily identify with. I couldn’t get Nurse Eye Roll® out of my mind, so I went with it. It represented those Nurse Eye Roll® moments you experience every day of your nurse life… you know, when you spend 20 minutes meticulously changing a dressing only to have the physician come by and rip it of and not tell you… or when you’re mid-med pass with six patients and your patient whose going down for a colonoscopy suddenly has an order for 3 STAT enemas… or when you get an email that you have to come in for a mandatory meeting on your one day off in between six 12-hour shifts.
Those moments. The moments we all feel, but rarely do others see, let alone understand.
That’s who Nurse Eye Roll® was. The nurse inside that people don’t really get see, but that we all know because… well, we are nurses.
I wanted to write about work in a funny, yet relatable way on my Nurse Eye Roll® platform. I was nervous about HIPAA and getting fired, so I kept it anonymous. I wasn’t sure what I could and couldn’t post and social media was kind of still young within health care. I had just begun working at a major hospital in Charlotte, NC, so I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers.
I started getting some great feedback and engagement from nurses and students all over the world. It was incredible. Emails, messages, and social media responses all saying they enjoyed the content, it made them remember why they wanted to be a nurse, why they love our imperfect profession, and more.
I then started to write short posts on basic time management, delegation, prioritization, and more funnies.
It got even more popular.
After the brilliant suggestion of a wonderful friend, Jessica Diehl, I created a website to write longer posts not contained to one social media platform. Thus, NurseEyeRoll.com was born.
Creating Becoming Nursey
I started to get a lot of great traffic and shares, but it was beginning to take up an exorbitant amount of time. I’d come home from 12-hour shifts in a neurocritical care unit and personally answer email after email related to nursing, writing blog post after blog post, maintaining 5 social media accounts, guest blogging for other sites, and more. Soon, I was working 60+ hours per week between my time as a neurocritical care nurse and nurse blogger. I also noticed I kept getting similar questions over and over again.
In both an effort to attempt to be compensated in some manner for my hours and hours of creating content every week, and to address the continued needs of the online nursing community, I decided to compile a book – Becoming Nursey!
While writing the book, I started to think about my anonymity and the fact that if I continued to be anonymous, my actual name wouldn’t be on the book.
Whoa, not cool.
I chatted with a fellow nurse blogger, Brittney Wilson BSN RN, about my situation and she strongly [and wisely] advised me to come out of the anonymous blogger closet and own what I write.
After some thought and prayer, I chatted with one of my closest nursing friends (Elizabeth Mills, BSN RN CCRN who is a FreshRN Podcast cohost) and my nurse manager and told her what I’d be doing. They loved it and were incredibly supportive.
So, I went through everything I had previously published with a fine-toothed comb to make sure that anything I posted on various social media channels was something that would make my manager, former and future patients/families (YES patients Google their health care providers – they have done that while I was in the room), colleagues, nurse buds, administrators, friends, and loved ones, proud and not cringe.
Prior to the release of the book, I took down my previously anonymous picture and changed it to one of myself and introduced myself to my audience!
And, in November 2014, I released my first independently published title, Becoming Nursey: From Code Blues to Code Browns, How to Care for Your Patients and Yourself!
Since its release, it’s sold over 20K copies and is being used in nursing schools and nurse residency programs across the country. Major nursing organizations and nursing schools sell it in their bookstores, and it’s been given as graduation gifts to entire nursing school classes. It’s been sold in Ireland, Germany, France, Australia, the Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and more.
When Nurse Eye Roll® was no longer working for me
Things were going well. I was getting some income from the book, a little bit on ads on my site, some sponsored blog posts, a few contracts here and there, and even some speaking events. It was quite a whirlwind.
But, I started to hear through the grapevine that while some nurses identified with the whole Nurse Eye Thing® thing, businesses and people who were able to compensate me for my time weren’t thrilled about it. Yes, they enjoyed my content and personality, but they weren’t jumping at the chance to publicize they were working with a blogger named Nurse Eye Roll®.
I also had some health care professionals reach out to me and say while they get the joke, it comes off like I’m making fun of patients. While that wasn’t my intention, I can definitely see how that may come across.
I started to realize that having a brand that you have to immediately explain so people don’t get offended is not a good idea.
I had to do a little prioritization and ask myself if I wanted to spend hours and hours weekly working, but not seeing much compensation for it.
Simultaneously, I went to the National Nurses in Business conference to meet other nurse entrepreneurs and get my mind around more of the practical aspects of all of this. (If you’re a fellow nurse entrepreneur, I highly recommend joining that organization and going to that conference.) I quickly learned many valuable things, one of which was that I needed to find out what my passion was and dive deep into that.
Supporting and encouraging new nurses as they transition to practice.
Does Nurse Eye Roll® communicate that?
FreshRN® – the beginning
On the plane home from the conference, I started brainstorming on ways to zero in on my passion. I decided to pivot my brand from something general, to new graduate nurses specifically. And that, my friends, is where FreshRN® began.
I rebranded my entire platform to FreshRN®, which included overhauling my site. I spent a lot of time and money reorganizing it, but I am so incredibly glad that I did.
Having a more focused strategy helps me dig deeper and provide more value.
I don’t have to back track to explain my brand.
Many companies are reaching out to me for my various mutually beneficial endeavours that keep the blog thriving and enable me to continue to reach out to more and more nurses and students.
I’ve even had the honor of having three additional books published with the largest professional nursing organization in the country, the American Nurses Association!
I’ve also released a podcast specifically for new nurses. It’s 40 episodes, has a 5-star iTunes rating, and over 130K downloads. It features myself and two other nurses who are highly experienced and nationally certified critical care bedside nurses. We talk delegation, orientation, preceptors, death, central lines, intensive care, floor nursing, and more. We continually receive messages from students, new nurses, and even experienced nurses about how it’s helped them become better and more confident at the bedside.
[Production is currently on hiatus until we can find a quality nursing sponsor. It’s an expensive and time-intensive labor of love for me, one that I cannot continue to afford to do at this time.]
I’ve worked with Capella University, NurseGrid, Toyota, Learning House, the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, the American Nurses Association, the National Nurses in Business Association, Kentucky Association of Nursing Students, Einstein Bros Bagels, Nabee Socks, FIGS Scrubs, Nursing.com, Staff Garden, the Nerdy Nurse, MendorMate, OnCourse Learning, and more!
I’ve traveled all over the country because of this endeavor… San Diego, Denver, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Las Vegas, St. Pete’s Beach, Nashville, just to name a few.
It’s still young and we’re still compiling content and whatnot, but it will comprise of practical info for new NP’s, a podcast, and soon some things new NP’s can purchase (like continuing education!). I’m not an NP, but working to gather those who have that unique expertise to help aid the transition of those who are entering the NP world for the first time.
Because the platform has been so successful, myself and fellow nurse blogger Brittney Wilson BSN RN created a site just for healthcare professionals interested in developing their own platform, organizations interested in training their employees in safe social media use, and more training/consulting/speaking options over at Health Media Academy.
Last year, we published a pretty comprehensive guide for nurses interested in blogging as well. It answers a lot of the common questions people have, how to do so in a way that elevates the profession, business considerations, technology points, community building, and more. Click below to check it out on Amazon!
FreshRN in the future
Basically, Nurse Eye Roll® was good to me, but moving on and evolving has been a wonderful and necessary thing. I discovered my online nursing identity through those experiences… made some mistakes, but learned about what’s important:
- Positively influencing my profession
- Making my friends, family, colleagues, patients and their support systems, leaders, and current and prospective nursing students proud – not cringe
- Providing support, encouragement, and challenges to newly licensed nurses
- Prioritizing professional relationships that are not only good for me, but good for my profession
- Work-life balance and not pouring so much into my platform that I’m neglecting myself and my loved ones
You will continue to see FreshRN® develop with more and more content in different forms of media (video, podcasts, blog posts, books, courses, more). Later this year, I am planning on graduating with my Masters of Science in Nursing Education because I want to get better at educating new nurses. Weekly, we are releasing show notes to the FreshRN® Podcast to add additional written resource to the existing audio ones, because we all know people learn differently. And online courses will be added in 2018!
So, thank you for your support over the years. I pray this is just the beginning.
Kati Kleber, MSN RN
[Formerly, Nurse Eye Roll]