Exploring the Hmong Culture’s Understanding of Seizures

Subject: Health Care
Type: Exploratory Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 836
Topics: Public Health, Childhood

Explain how seizures are understood by the Hmong culture.

While reviewing the literature on the Hmong culture, one cannot help but notice how distinctly different it is from the Western culture. Among these differences includes how the Hmong culture understands seizures. Contrary to the medical background that explains seizures in the Western culture, Fadiman narrates that the Hmong perceive them as some sort of mystical power (2012). They believe that seizure recipients can see what is invisible to the rest of the community. Seizure patients in the Hmong community are not only perceived as sympathizers for the pain of others but are also seen as healers. For the Hmong people, experiencing seizures is a calling only meant for a chosen few. People with healing powers within the Hmong culture, Txiv neeb, often declare that seizure patients are called to a healing vocation (Fadiman, 2012). From ethical knowing, it is crucial as a nurse to endorse values of compassion, understanding, and integrity when challenging beliefs like those of the Hmong community arise. It is my responsibility as a health care giver to be sensitive to the beliefs of the patient and strive to deliver quality care in full transparency of health mechanisms but without offending the patient. 

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Retell why Lia’s parents were motivated to take her to the hospital in California for treatment but not willing or able to maintain her medications at home.

While the Hmong are overly skeptical about Western medicine, Lia’s parents were motivated by their worry to take her to the Californian hospital. While residing in a Thailand refugee camp, the couple had taken their critically ill children to a camp hospital, and they had successfully recovered. However, one of their children who had not gone to the hospital died. Fadiman asserts that while the experience had not entirely convinced the Lee’s on the need of Western medicine, they believed that they could help in some way (2013). Regarding personal knowing, I have encountered challenges in my life that have changed my way of thinking, albeit to a small extent. For example, the first time I touched a hot pan as a child helped me understand the essence of heat. From then on, I knew that touching a hot pan would hurt me. In the same way, losing a child by not taking her to the hospital made Lia’s parents take their other kids to a medical facility, even with an underlying conflict of interest. 

Generalize the most important lesson for medical professionals and patients in this story.

This story teaches medical professionals and their patients that the professional-patient relationship is the most crucial aspect of the caregiving process. Particularly, it teaches medical professionals that the patient and their families are a vital link to patient-centered care that should not be ignored. Culture differences play a crucial in determining the success of these interactions. Taylor, Nicolle, & Maguire assert that cultural barriers may affect matters of health care decision-making, access to health care services and even the patient’s adherence to treatment plans (2013). From aesthetic knowing, each patient’s needs is unique and needs particular attention to ensure successful healing. Reflecting on the case of Lia, her parents doubted Western medical practices and believed firmly in the basics of their Hmong culture. Understanding that the patient’s family and the patient themselves and acknowledging the uniqueness of their condition is essential to propel inter-collaboration between the three parties. Accordingly, the doctor who took his time to understand the Lee family’s culture is the only one whose treatment plan was successful. 

Discuss how to address poor perineal hygiene with the parent without seeming to imply that he or she is neglecting the child.

Addressing poor perineal hygiene in children is a sensitive subject that needs to be dealt with care to avoid offending the parent. It is crucial to understand that in some cultures; even discussing perineal hygiene is a taboo. While matters of private care may be embarrassing for both the client and the nurse, they should be addressed to promote proper personal hygiene for the child. From an empirical knowing point of view, integrating sensitivity and professionalism helps alleviate feelings of discomfort (Funnell, Koutoukidis & Lawrence, 2008). As such, the nurse should preferably make the parent as comfortable as possible before discussing the child’s perineal care. The nurse may also let the parent know that matters of perineal hygiene often affect many families, to create a sense of comfortability. It is important to make the parent understand that the child’s perineal hygiene is entirely dependent on their care. Parents must, therefore, understand the health risks associated with poor perineal hygiene, which may have a severe impact on the overall functioning of a healthy family. Nevertheless, Macqueen & Bruce highlight that because children are in the process of growth, the parents should allow room for personal hygiene development, albeit within their supervision (2012). Depending on the age of the child, parents must be careful to let care for their perinea independently as they grow into teenage. 

Did you like this sample?
  1. Fadiman, A. (2012). The spirit catches you and you fall down: A Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
  2. Funnell, R., Koutoukidis, G., & Lawrence, K. (2008). Tabbner’s nursing care: Theory and practice. Elsevier Australia.
  3. Macqueen, S., & Bruce, E. (2012). The Great Ormond Street Hospital manual of children’s nursing practices. John Wiley & Sons.
  4. Taylor, S. P., Nicolle, C., & Maguire, M. (2013). Cross-cultural communication barriers in health care. Nursing Standard27(31), 35-43.
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