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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Big need for mother-and-baby nurses (2)

By Huang Ying (China Daily)

10:57, February 20, 2012

"A confinement nurse is a combination of nurse, early childhood teacher and dietitian," said Cui Jingwen, general manager of Baby Care & Education Co Ltd.

Established in 2000, the company now has branches in more than 40 cities in China, including Shanghai, Harbin in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province and Hohhot, the capital city of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

Among their clients, 10 percent are expatriates living in Beijing and 20 percent are those who have had second babies.

"The foreign couples speak very fluent Chinese and have absolutely no trouble in communicating with our confinement nurses," Cui said.

Chinese people consider it is vital for mothers and newly born babies to have an experienced and professional confinement nurse taking care of them in the yuezi period because of their concerns over health. Yuezi refers to the first month after a woman gives birth.

Most confinement nurses are affiliated to household service agencies but have not signed official labor contracts. Only a small proportion are officially employed by these companies, something that has led to high turnover of workers in the industry.

"We've trained more than 1,000 yuesao in total throughout our development but only 200 to 300 of them are still working for our company at present," Cui said.

The pay of confinement nurses plays a dominant role in causing the turnover. Some leave an agency for a rival because the latter offers higher pay. They don't have to pay compensation because they were not in a contractual relationship with the business. Those with years of experience are most sought after.

In addition, the background of workers affects job mobility. A significant number of confinement nurses are from rural areas who go home immediately after having earned money.

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