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People's Daily Online>>China Military

Nursing by listening: health on board the ships

By Li Lianxing (China Daily)

15:07, December 26, 2011

Shao Xiaoqin checks a soldier's blood pressure on board ship. She was one of seven nurses who were the first women to join the escort operations, on the third mission. (Xinhua/ Guo Gang)

BEIJING - "I personally don't feel that I brought too much difference to the ship, but I can feel that the soldiers were willing to talk to us and we inspired each other during the mission."

Xiang Jiaorong was talking about her role as one of the first seven female soldiers who joined the escort mission to the Gulf of Aden in 2009. She was a nurse at a navy hospital in Zhejiang province, in East China, when she was selected. It would be her first time serving aboard ship.

"The dorm was so small and tight that we could hardly move in it," she said. "That was the first time for us in the grassroots unit to experience the real life of a bluejacket."

The mission lasted 158 days.

"The beautiful scene in the ocean was so attractive in the first 15 days, but after that, all the excitement and freshness disappeared and left us with discomfort and boredom," she said.

"I was lucky that I didn't have a boyfriend waiting for me, but 158 days is long enough to make me homesick. At such moments, mutual encouragement with the guys is vital."

Shao Xiaoqin, like Xiang, was selected after rigorous screening for physical strength, professional performance and psychological health.

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