Hser Mu La Paw (S’Moo) is one of a growing community of Karen refugees in Bendigo who have found their home and calling in “helping people” at Bendigo Health.
To reach her ultimate career goal of being a nurse and/or midwife at Bendigo Health, S’Moo is beginning by “taking small steps” in her words, on the administration team within the specialist clinics early this year.
In fact, S’Moo now 22, has taken a very big leap from a child living in one of seven refugee camps that still exist today in Thailand, some currently struggling in war zones.
“I’m honoured to be here at Bendigo Health. I’m happy to have the opportunity to work with my colleagues who are amazing and help me so much, and we work really hard to meet patient needs,” she said.
S’Moo is also supported to work a part-time role at Bendigo Cinemas which has been instrumental over the past six years, in helping develop her language and customer service skills.
Improving her communication skills is key for S’Moo. “I love communicating with people, it doesn’t matter who they are I just love helping people. It will also benefit my future career in midwifery,” she said.
“I think what inspired me to become a nurse or midwife is my Karen community back in Thailand; we don’t have a country and we are all spread out at the moment. Some of the people there are suffering from war so I hope to also be able to use my skills and knowledge about women’s health when visiting the community in the camps on the Thailand/Burmese border.”
Meanwhile, S’Moo is kept busy raising awareness and helping the Karen people in the local community here who also need healthcare and support.
“We do get a lot of Karen patients here, especially in infectious diseases and renal, the new arrivals are more susceptible to infectious diseases, and some don’t realise they have a problem or a health issue, so when they come here they start getting treatment,” she said.
“I’m able to help them by explaining what they are here for, or checking their personal information.”
S’Moo is grateful to her colleagues for embracing her and supporting her in her role in administration, an area which is integral to the running of a large rural hospital offering a range of specialist clinics which include surgical, medical and orthopaedic services for both adults and children.
“Without my colleagues I wouldn’t be where I am right now, and have to believe in myself and just put myself ‘out there’. Even though it will be challenging, we learn from our mistakes. That’s how I become better,” she said.
“It can be really stressful when it’s a busy day, but the job is fun and my colleagues are amazing. I wouldn’t be able to understand and learn everything without them.”
S’Moo’s goal is also to one day have the Karen flag of the people of Burma recognised and flown over a land free from war and serve to unify their people and affirm their culture.
For information about the Karen Culture and Social Support Foundation visit http://kcssf.org.au/
If you want to be your best with us, visit https://bendigohealth.mercury.com.au/
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