Check out my new Youtube Vid out !

Check out my latest vids on my youtube channel: Nursesoulbrother

I posted a latest video on IVs on how important they are and how they work.  Also check out my other vids on my channel such as how is it to be an ER nurse.  More vids to come out.    Watch, like, subscribe and share !!!!



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Posted by on June 6, 2019 in Uncategorized


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My new Youtube Channel!!!

Greetings folks,

Okay… I have to admit, it’s been donkey years since I  have come on this  blog page and made any updates simply for the fact that I have been so busy with life in general.  But with that said when I do  pop up here I do like to post interesting things such as this…….

I have created a Youtube Channel:  Nursesoulbrother

I created this channel because I wanted to share knowledge, give advice and discuss interesting health related topics from a Canadian male nurse perspective. This channel is geared for upcoming nurses, nursing students, current nurses or for anyone who is interested in health care. Nursing is a continuing education and learning journey. No one nurse knows EVERYTHING.

Check it out, like my vids, subscribe and share !!!

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Posted by on May 30, 2019 in Uncategorized


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Trinidad Carnival: 5 Things To Know Before You Go Based On My Experience

Trinidad Carnival: 5 Things To Know Before You Go Based On My Experience

Hello people…
First of all I have been completely absent from this blog for well over a year because I’ve been busy with a lot of stuff (when I have time I will post some stuff about it )
I do want to share this excellent blog my friend did about our experience going to Trinidad this year for carnival 2018 . We had an amazing time and reading it made feel depressed about leaving such a great experience !

Check it out !!!!


Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is truly an experience worth splurging on at least once in your lifetime. We didn’t launch our blog until after my epic trip so I’m sharing some highlights from sweet, sweet T&T with you now 🙂 As well as five things you should know if you’re planning on going to Trinidad Carnival 2019.

  1. Playing Mas

In my opinion, you absolutely MUST play mas if you go to Trinidad Carnival. I played with the infamous TRIBE Mas Band and had an amazing experience on the road!

Trinidad Carnival 2018 - *sings* I here with mi friend and dem

Costume Selection: If you want to play mas I recommend that you start researching the various mas bands as early as late Spring/early Summer the year before Carnival season. Yes, I’m talking months in advance people.

Many of the top bands, like TRIBE have committee member’s who have to pre-approve you before…

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Posted by on April 25, 2018 in Uncategorized


1 Year Anniversary… and it still hurts

1 Year Anniversary… and it still hurts

So it’s been 1 year 1 month 3 weeks and a day since my mother passed away and I can tell you I struggled to write this.  Not because it was emotionally draining but there was so much stuff I wanted to say that it would sound like a disjointed 20 page essay with no clear beginning, ending or theme.   And even though I did not want this to turn into a venting “let’s feel sorry for the dude” or a “bitch fest about no one understanding me.”  from the looks of it.. it might turn out that way so please brace yourselves.

So how do I feel right now ? I feel like I am floating in a lost mixed emotion and mind space that I really can’t explain.

It’s hard to explain because I feel like though I have been trying to do things that would make me feel happy and positive (going on trips, etc) but for some odd reason it also has affected my relationships around me.  I feel like I’m  Jekyll and Hyde.  At work I transform into this happy joyful nurse that strives to make my patient feel good, better and even make them laugh.  It brings them joy…. it brings me joy.  But as soon as I get home reality hits.  I go back to that dark reality that I often try to push out of the way but everything reminds me of my mother.

Since I moved back home with my father our relationship has been good (thankfully.)  I was quite concerned how our relationship would be honestly.  I was scared that we would both lash out each other out of emotional breakdowns and fears and never get the chance to truly take care of each other and build that father son relationship  I felt was not as strong simply because I was closer to my mother.  Thankfully things have been good so far.   I respect his space, he respects mine,we both take care of each other and look out for each other and rarely ever have any arguments (and if we do its towards others not us ha!)  My relationships with my friends and other family members unfortunately have changed.  Some slightly…others drastic.    I now became the “guy who lost his mom to a brain tumour” or the “the nurse friend who lost his mom to cancer.” Or the best… “the nurse friend who works too much and does not have time  for his friends or family to grieve properly.”

Yep… you read that right.  “The nurse friend who works too much and does not have time for his friends or to grieve properly.”

Seems a bit insulting right?  Well some people don’t think so.  I will admit, I have been working a lot and I do use it as way of a coping mechanism (also a great way to clear your debt and bills!)  I don’t drink alcohol, do drugs, or participate in any high risk activity.  Apart from going to the gym, work has sometimes been a way to escape the reality I had to deal with and despite work being  stressful at times, I was able to put on this “front” and act like everything was cool . Unfortunately it made my already limited social life diminish to a tiny speck of dust.

And that’s when people stopped inviting me or asking me out to engagements and events. And that’s when people would stop phoning, texting me asking and seeing if I was ok. And that’s when people figured I was working too much that I did not have time to grieve properly.  This absolutely made me frustrated, exasperated and pissed.  To make matters worse when I was actually free on a weekend or Friday night to do something everyone simply just forgotten about me and either had made other plans or simply were not interested in doing anything because they were  “too tired.”    I even had one friend who recently gotten into a relationship tell me: “Well you’ve been so busy to hangout with your friends and do anything on the weekend so  now I met someone who I can chill with and hang on the weekends.”

Excuse – the – fuck- me ????  I am sorry I did not realize we were a married couple!!!

This, compounded with everything else just started a windmill of mixed emotions, thoughts, anger and depression.  I was a thermostat…. I was warm and bubbly at work but as soon as I got home or who had any interaction with friends who seemed to forget that I existed I became cold, flat, monotone and curt.  And my anger fueled more when I decided to things on my own simply because everyone was too busy for me and then the same friends get upset as to why  I never informed or told them.   It was loose-loose situation and I simply was getting exhausted for trying to explain myself for something that really deserved no explaining…….it was already self explanatory.

So through my entire disjointed rant what I am really trying to say?

Yes I am a nurse but that does not mean I am mean I lack emotion because “I’m trained and taught to do so.”  Yes I work crazy hours to take care of the sick but does not that mean I don’t enjoy  or receive therapeutic conversation and care by family and friends as I do with my patients.   People…. please be mindful.  Keep talking to those who are grieved with the loss of a loved one despite the fact that they might seem  “ok” in your eyes.  And remember this is not about YOU.. it is about them and their loss and trying to support them.  This is not the time for you be like “well they seem to be okay or they seem to be preoccupied with something so let me focus on myself as they don’t have time  for me.” This was not your loved one that died.  That has to be the most selfish inconsiderate thing to think about.  People heal at different stages and a different times of their lives.   People also have different ways on how they cope.  What you might consider a great way of coping may not be what someone else does.  As long as they are not harming themselves and others support them and be there for them instead of ridiculing them and chastising them for not being there…….for you.  Again this is not about you and your feelings, its about them and how they are coping.

Now that I got that off my chest I now have to get ready for work and put on that facade that everything is cool and I am just this happy go lucky guy…but in reality I am as sick as my patients….just emotionally sick.

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Posted by on August 29, 2016 in Uncategorized


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My blog featured on


My recent blog 6 months my struggle dealing with  mother’s death was featured on the medical blog site  Check it out, read it, share it, comment on it and reflect.


Again thank you all for the kind words


Twitter: medsoulbrother

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Posted by on February 6, 2016 in Uncategorized


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6 months.

Screenshot_2016-01-09-18-50-31It will be 6 months since my mother passed away.

No one gives you any instructions or guidelines on how to deal when a family member dies, especially from an illness that has taken and consumed them in a matter of months.

And all you can do is just sit there and watch.

A part from my co workers and a couple of my close friends, I kept my mother’s illness a secret. Not because I was ashamed and embarrassed but I did not want to advertise to the entire world of what she was going through out of respect to her and my family. I was not in the mind state at that time to receive countless of “Pray for mother and your family” or “I know what you are going through” or worse, people who automatically became certified online doctors, oncologist specialists and therapists attempting to give me advice that I was not just not ready or had the energy to listen, rebuttal or respond.

So you sit there, put on a front like everything is cool and continue on your daily routine, until one day everything crashes and you shatter into pieces unable to put yourself back together again.

And when you do, you continue to cut yourself from the shattered pieces.

My mother was diagnosed with glioblastoma brain tumor on the week of my birthday. For months she was complaining of a slight dizziness or what my mother called “feeling a bit fuzzy.” She also complained about how her sense of smell was off but she thought it was just her allergies or a cold.

One night my concerned father who could not bare it  called me. “Your mom is not herself. She’s seems a bit off.” I was at work so I decided to bring her in and get her checked out. Now this is where the “everything will be okay mom you just need some rest” nurse thinking came to my mind. My mother was seen and immediately had a CT head to make sure everything was ok.

The CT head results were not promising at all.

One of the fellow doctors who saw my mother discussed the results with my mother, myself as well as my dad.  The CT scan showed something but it was not clear if  she had a stroke or a mass therefore, would be admitted for observation and to do a MRI. Of course again this where I continued to be  positive: “Ok so if it is stroke, no big deal, she can have physiotherapy, take her meds, and be well taken care of as long as she continues to be active and fit.”

That’s when I received the call from my dad few days later that they found two brain tumors and that she would need to have neurosurgery done stat.

My heart sank but not fully. Ok a tumor. What kind of tumor? My dad was unsure and I was out of town at the time so he was not able to articulate well. Again, I tried to remain positive.

But it was more like denial. 

I arrived the following day after my mother had her surgery. She was up, talking and in good spirits. Family members and friends visited her.

This is where my role conflict started.

Quickly the doctors and nursing staff were well informed that I was an ER nurse at their partnered hospital so I became the go to person for all the medical stuff. I was fine with this but the problem escalated when my family and others started appointing and using me as their medical reference and asking me 101 medical questions.

Yes I am in Emergency Room Nurse but I am not an oncology nurse nor do I specialize in neurosurgery. Yes I treat and deal with stroke patients and cancer patients all the time but my care is only on the primary first level basis. Once these patients are admitted and go to their assigned unit, they are taken of by nurses, doctors and other staff members who are specialized in that area. But that did not seem to matter to everyone else. They just saw me as the “Nurse” and threw all their questions, opinions, scrutiny and concerns to me.

And me being the son and the only child, I felt that I had no choice but to take it all.

2 weeks after her surgery we went to a different hospital which was an hour drive from our home which specialized in chemotherapy and radiation of brain tumors. The surgeons were able to only remove one tumor but were unable to reach the other one because removing it would affect major brain and motor functions. We went to three sessions before my mother’s radiation and chemotherapy schedule was established. Again because I was the son , the nurse, and  the “knowledgeable one” I took the responsibility  to drive my mother five days a week an hour to and from the hospital for her treatments.  But deep down I wanted to this.  This was my mother.  She had sacrificed so much for me.  It was time to return the honor.

As I continued this drive and passion to take care of my mother the role conflict continued. I was suppose to be the caring son who would do anything for their mother but at the same time I was looked at a nurse that was taking care of their patient and had to ensure that they had received the proper care and that they had knowledge up to the very minute of what was going. So every night I would research about glioblastoma brain tumors.

And every time I would read about it, my eyes would fill with tears.

The outcomes were never good. It depressed me, angered me. But I still remained positive. I had to. My mother was counting on me though deep down she knew things were not good.  I would vent to my close friends about this struggle, all of them providing them the support as well as understanding what I am going through.

My mother was on her last week of radiation when she became extremely weak. So weak she could not get out of bed. My dad grew concerned and called the ambulance. She was again rushed to my hospital where she was treated. Her blood pressure was low and she had developed pressure ulcers from being too weak to turn herself in bed. Furthermore she was constantly vomiting. Things improved when she got better and then was moved to the rehabilitation unit so she can start walking again.

At this time I was starting to get burnt out.  The constant trips to and from the oncology clinic and the working 12 hour shifts in between was putting a toll on me.  I knew it but I could not let myself go weak.  Not for my mother.   Not this time.   Then the further questions kept coming.  “Why is your mother getting so sick?  Is the chemotherapy making her sick?  You are a nurse you know better you should intervene.  They should stop the radiation and chemotherapy and go natural.”   All of a sudden people who had no form of medical training were WebMD and google experts reading and rhyming off facts to me as if I should know and intervene.   The problem is that I knew what was happening and I understood what was going on.  And I knew that the outcome was not going to be good.   And I was afraid.

I was afraid that my mother’s time was about to expire.  But I was in denial.  I still remained hopeful that my mother would pull through this.  I mean this was a woman who sacrificed all her years supporting the family and even taking in other relatives  into our home and establishing them with a foundation before they moved out.

My father received a call from the hospital the next morning  stating that thing were looking worse for my mother.  The end was near.  My father and my aunt had gotten me up from bed and we drove the the hospital. It was time to face my fears.

And That’s when my world came crashing down.

Reality had hit me.  My body felt limped, paralyzed.   I was like a zombie.  My aunt and father literally had to drag me out of the car and drag me into the unit that my mother was on.  Imagine dragging a 6’0 240lbs big guy.  I’m sure people watched.  I’m sure onlookers pointed.  I’m sure some staff recognized who I was.  My aunt was scared. She had never seen me like this.  In my catonic state I could hear my aunt frightened suggesting that I should go into emergency as I did not look good.  My father refused.  He knew that this was his son who was not  in need of a medical emergency.  This was a son who was in need of his mother.

My mother laid in the hospital bed.  Weak, frail, her eyes barely opened. Her once smooth wrinkled free dark ageless skin was now pail dry like sandpaper.  Her dilapidated dry wrinkled skin looked like deserted valleys that once told a story but now was abandoned.  This was not my mother. This could not be her. It just could not. This was not her lying in this bed.  I did not know this woman.  But it was my mother, an angel in a death disguise.   I sat beside my mother holding her frail hands.  And without any warning or signal, I cried, whaling and yelling. I was completely shattered.  Broken.  Smashed.  A couple of nurses who I knew from the unit was there  and stood there.  Broken, upset that their funny teddy bear nurse was on his knees crying at the sight of his dying mother.   They held my  hand and comforted me .  They cried with me.  It was hard seeing a fellow nursing colleague who is always happy caring on with jokes and making people laugh completely break down into pieces and seeing the one person who brought him into this crazy world  now leaving it.   I don’t know how my aunt and my father reacted or how they felt.  The only person who I saw in that room was my mom.  No I was not being selfish, I was scared of being alone.

Two days later, my mother’s pain and suffering would end. She would pass away in the afternoon.  The charge nurse who called me (again a colleague whom I knew)  found it hard for her to tell me the words.  But she did.

And that bullet never felt so fresh and painful.

I slowly started notifying my close friends and family. They were beyond themselves.  Tears and emotions enraged them.  They could not believe it. I could not sleep that night.  Everything was a blur.  I hated the world. I hated everything. I felt like I was in a nightmare. I did not want to talk to anyone or anything.  I wanted to be alone.  I wanted my mother back.   I wanted to kick Brain tumor’s ass. I wanted to kill that Brain Tumor but instead it killed my mother…it killed me.. it killed our family….it killed everyone who loved her.  I woke up early the next morning  and struck the courage and nerve to post a facebook status. I knew I had to as the word would spread and people would start asking me questions and posting on my wall “RIP” while other inquiring minds would be shocked and ask why. After typing the last word, I hit enter and watched as the paragraph became my status update:

“It’s 7am and I feel lost confused angry guilty and saddened with tears. I’ve kept this a secret from many because I didn’t want to tell everyone about this. Three months ago my mother was diagnosed with an aggressive form of a brain tumor. Being the bravebird, she underwent surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Unfortunately she became sick and had to be hospitalized but she remained strong and a fighter. Unfortunately she lost this fight and passed away yesterday. I am trying so hard to be positive but the tears keep rolling down my face. Mom…..I miss you so so much. You were taken way too soon from those who you’ve touched. Rest in peace Mom. I will see you in heaven when I get up there so we can be together again.”

The next couple of weeks would be a blur.  I would get phone calls, messages, visits from friends and family.  Arrangements of the funeral went over my head as I was not in the head space but somehow manage to answer all the necessary questions.  The day of funeral still had me numb.  Seeing my mother laid there in what look like an eternal sleep while watching my father, a big grown man for decades who I have never seen cry break down in front of me made me numb and scared unsure of what the future was going to occur.  Weeks then turn into months.  The phone calls subsided, the visits stopped and my father and myself were left and force to continue a new norm of a life.   There is not a single day that I do not miss my  mother.

Though her death is still fresh and strong in my mind and soul, keeping her memory has been therapeutic cathartic release for me .  It also shows how one cannot take life granted.  Aside from having hypertension she had no issues.  She looked great for her age and worked really hard. Her death and illness impacted many of her coworkers.   My mother’s passing has also made me realize on how nurses often face role conflict when dealing with death of a family member.  This was a major issue for me.  People kept looking at me as “the nurse” and instead of “the son.”  Ironically this was actually brought up in family meeting with my mom’s attending doctor and my family.  Every time when the doctor kept asking a question or decision all fingers were pointed at me.  The doctor (whom I thank her till this day) basically said, “Guys, I understand Dwight is a nurse but you have to understand that he is also a son.  He is not treating a patient.  This is his mother, he needs to be a son just like you need to be her husband and you need to be her sister.” Those words still echo in my head.   The one thing that I want to stress out and emphasize to the nth degree is that everyone grieves differently.  There is no essential right or wrong way to grieve.  There is though a right and wrong way on how to console someone when they are grieving.  Remember they have lost a loved one, not you so please refrain from the “I know what you are going through” or “You should not be selfish in keeping to yourself, you should allow others to grieve with you (yes I had someone tell that to me and after I gave a dirty look she realized her mistake.)

Loosing someone who you love so much is detremental.  You feel at times that your inner being that held you together has been sucked out.  But sometimes remembering the good memories and thoughts can help you slowly glue those broken pieces back together. For me, it will take some time.

A long time.



Instagram: Medsoulbrother
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Facebook Author page: Ford D. Barrett


Posted by on January 10, 2016 in Uncategorized


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NCLEX did not fail the students, the Canadian Nursing Association and the regulating provincial bodies did.

I’ve been a nurse for under 5 years and I still remember all too well studying for the CRNE (Canadian Registered Nursing Exam) and the stress and anxiety I felt from it.  I  also knew that CRNE for the most part attempted to  reflect on what I learned in nursing school as well as how our Canadian Health Care system operated.

Then all of a sudden arrived the NCLEX.

A number of years ago, the CNA (Canadian Nursing Association) and the rest of the provincial nursing regulating bodies in Canada were being proposed of a new exam called the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) that would serve as a uniform way of testing all nurses both in Canada and the US (the  US has had this testing since 1994.)  This year was the first year that graduating Canadian Nurses wrote the exam.


And unfortunately many of them failed.

Questions and possible answers immediately started to arise as to why this was the case.  Blames to the type of school and programs immediately surfaced as many tried to find an answer.  Many schools however have proved that statistically prior to the NCLEX they were had successful rates with the CRNE.  So the real reason is not because these students were not smart enough.

The real reason is that simply these unfortunate students were used as guinea pigs in a failed experiment that did not prepare them.

It seems the one thing that was often overlooked and what some organizations such as the RNAO (Registered Nursing Association of Ontario) had chanted for years is that simply nursing in Canada is different from the nursing in the United States.   Nursing up here tends to be more psycho-social where in the United States it is more bio-medical and pathophysiological.  There is no argument as to which one is better or worse but it is also unfair to subject a test to nursing students who essentially spent four years if not more studying and learning nursing in a Canadian health care system to only be subjected to a licensing exam that does not reflect this at all.

Furthermore, a lot of nursing schools did not have enough time or prep for these graduating students to take the NCLEX exam.  Most of the prep exams for students are based on the CRNE format.  A brand new curriculum would have to be implemented to prepare these students and usually preparing such curriculum can take months if not years.

What I always found quite odd (and also a waste of money) is that though the NCLEX is an American standardize test, as Canadians if we want to practice in the United States, we have to take yet another NCLEX just to practice in the few states that we are allowed to if we chose to practice south of the border.

In my department where I currently worked, we hired 8 new graduate nurses who all took the new NCLEX.  Out of the 8, only one passed.  This is a staggering number considering in the past, most if not all of our new grad nurses d passed the CRNE.  As a new graduate nurse, I can only imagine  how detrimental this must feel, especially if this was your first nursing job to only have taken away from you because of this botched exam.

I wish I could give advice to these new students but because I have not written the “Canadian NCLEX” it would be like the blind leading the blind.  But more importantly I wish the CNA and the other regulating bodies across the country can see that this was not implemented or planned properly and perhaps was a big mistake.

And most importantly…….If ain’t broke…..don’t fix.



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Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Uncategorized


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