Meet the Hmong Woman Now: Ying Thao

“..remember that we are the Hmong Women of Today, and are the voices and role models for our youths.”

Both my parents wDS8I2760ere refugees who settled in the United States in 1989, where I was born. My parents as did most Hmong parents, were faced with cultural clashes, some of which continue to be barriers to their acculturation. Thus, developing trust in Western society was a challenge of my parents leading up to their strict rules for my siblings and I. Juggling both the Hmong and Western culture has helped me mold my very own idea of what the norm is, being who we are despite the influences of culture and pursuing our dreams despite them being “eccentric”. My name is Ying Thao, eldest daughter and third oldest of eight. I am a Registered Nurse in medical surgical at Community Regional Medical Center and a Psychology Instructor at Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts, Fresno, Ca. I am expecting to graduate this May 2017 with my Masters of Nursing in Family Nurse Practitioner Option. My long-term goal is to pursue my Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Certificate and continue onto the Doctoral Nursing Program where I can expand my research.

My parents are my motivation to pursue this career path. I can recall feeling so helpless as a child watching my father struggle with his numerous medical conditions; language being one of the main barriers to accessing medical care. I remember having to translate for my parents and other Hmong parents along the way who were also faced with the same issues. The struggles of our Hmong parents have inspired me to become a provider and an advocate for the Hmong community.

A significant event during my career in which I have learned the most from involved interactions with other providers. I have learned that one of the most important trait to have is to always be humble. As we grow from our novice to expert roles, we must not forget how it was like to be a student, a new graduate on the job and simply trying to learn. One of the worst things we can do as experienced professionals is to shut down an aspiring individual who is working to be in our shoes. Let us be humble role-models and encourage the youths of our community.

The most difficult part of my career is mental health. Many of our Hmong parents are refugees with traumatic experiences and suffer from mental health disorders such as depression. As with all societies, there is a stigma to mental health, discouraging individuals from seeking care, and leading to many being undiagnosed.

Nursing is such an exciting career
! I would say that it is almost impossible to be bored as a nurse as it is one of the most diverse health-related profession there is. Nursing is challenging yet rewarding. I would say to our youths who aspire to pursue nursing to be confident in themselves. Careers exist because it is possible to achieve them! During my second year in college as I was trying to get into the nursing program, I remember chasing down whomever were wearing blue scrubs (nursing students) trying to obtain as much resources as I could. The advices that I received from these random nursing students were probably the best advices that I ever got as a student trying to pursue my career as a nurse. Do not be afraid to ask for advice.17972288_1191542717624753_6635706363990827197_o

Being an American Hmong women to me means advocating for myself and for those who does not have the voiceto do so. It is being able to challenge the cultural norm as we seek out opportunities and living up to our own standards and
not that of anyone else’s. It is important to remember that we are the Hmong
Women of Today, and are the voices and role models for our youths.

Ying Thao