Over the past few months I have been considering re-branding my YouTube channel to more clearly represent the audience it serves. Part of that process is figuring out who NurseKillam has evolved into.

Humble Beginnings

The name NurseKillam took me about a minute to come up with. In 2010 I decided to make a video that I could use to show the world how to use APA format. When it came time to share the video I wanted to put it somewhere that it would be accessible for everyone so it could be easily shared. YouTube seemed like a good place to upload the video. Part of the account set-up was to come up with a name.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to use my real name since there was some uncertainty about privacy. At that time I was unsure if I wanted my YouTube audience to find me (now that is fine). Since I am a registered nurse (I get asked that question a lot) I decided “Nurse” should be part of my name.

I had recently got married and had been reflecting on my new last name – “Killam.” As a long term care nurse I dreaded the impact of that last name on my image as a nurse, especially when caring for palliative patients.

Flash way back: My mother-in-law was my grade school teacher. We would make fun of her last name … saying she would “Kill” “em” (the students).

When I put the two names together “NurseKillam” sounded interesting and catchy so I went with it.

My Evolution

Then I heard about this thing called the “Flipped Classroom” and decided to give that a try as well  – using a number of strategies including videos I made as a hobby on my channel. It worked well. I Loved it and started putting more and more effort into my video creation hobby. The rest is history.

Students I had never met and other faculty stumbled across the APA videos. It wasn’t long before people started calling me “NurseKillam” in the hallways. That is who I have become.

Initial Branding

I forget exactly when I decided to put serious effort into the YouTube channel branding, but I began doing research on how to make my videos better for students. I started to learn how YouTube works, how to attract students to actually watch my videos, and more importantly how to retain their attention. After all, it is hard to help students if they don’t know you exist. Part of that process was defining what the focus of my channel would be and what value it offers to viewers. After a lot of thought I came up with:

Helping You Study Nursing

Where Complexity Meets Clarity

On many of my videos and on the channel page you will see these statements clearly displayed. The problem is I am not sure they accurately and effectively describe the channel or who I am anymore.

Shows nurses on a blue background with "Helping You Study Nursing" "Where Complexity Meets Clarity"

Created by Laura Killam (C)

Helping You Study Nursing

Yes, I help nursing students. That was my initial target group: nursing students. Many of my current subscribers are not nursing students. NurseKillam helps a wider audience than that. Unfortunately Google Analytics cannot tell me enough about my audience to tell me how many are actually nursing students. Most of the people who comment seem to be non-nursing students. Am I discouraging subscriptions from people that my videos could help by targeting nursing students? I think I am.

A large portion of my existing videos are about research. Masters and PhD students often thank me for helping them with their thesis. I thought about changing the “what NurseKillam does” statement to something about research but that seems like it doesn’t quite fit either.

I still want to use the channel for nursing education in areas beyond research. Nursing students benefit from videos about the nursing process and NCLEX.

After a couple of months of reflection I am pretty sure I am going to change the “What” to:

Research and Nursing Education

Where Complexity Meets Clarity

This values statement still represents my goal: To take complex concepts and simplify them. The problem here is that the statement itself is a little complex … ironic. So I have been trying to come up with another values statement for my channel that represents the core purpose of not only my channel but my entire online presence. To do so I really need to know who “NurseKillam” is.

Who is NurseKillam?

I was recently at a technology institute where they had me do some activities to help me define who I will be online. First we created venn diagrams … but I rebelled and made lists instead because I think better that way. In retrospect, I think it was because of my lack of clarity in how all the roles I have should or should not overlap.

This activity helped me think about my various roles and how they interact:

  • Educator
  • YouTuber
  • Researcher
  • Nurse
  • Mother
  • Wife
  • Advocate
  • Renovator
  • Healthy Eater

Through some reflection we turned the lists into a concept map. I groaned because I am not a big fan of concept maps. However, I will admit it was a useful activity.

The major question I still have is how much of my personal self should be part of my online presence – “NurseKillam.” Everyone has their own opinion of professionalism and how much distance should be maintained between “teacher” and “student.” To be safe I have kept these two things separate up to this point.

This reflective blog actually represents a middle ground to me. A way to connect with whoever wants to in a way that makes me relateable, yet professional. Instead of showcasing my personal life I can share my reflections and insights – struggles, challenges and successes.


NurseKillam is an evolving online version of myself. Now that I have a clearer picture of who she is I can reflect on the value I can offer in this and other online spaces.





Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit http://nursekillam.com/.


Kelly · August 16, 2017 at 10:30 pm

Love how much the blog is growing in such a short period of time! I also love the idea that you’ve chosen your blog to be the more “personalized” version of your professional self! Can’t wait to read more, Laura!

DavidP · August 17, 2017 at 8:38 am

Way to go Laura.

Thinking out loud is helpful and invites constructive commentary. I also find that things we develop tend to get refined through iterative processes, and you’ll likely try or test a few new things yourself before you decide on their actual implementation.

Bravo for moving your thinking forward, for inviting reflective commentary, and for testing out an open licensing approach.


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