Name: Anne Saunders
Location: Based in Hong Kong and work overseas every 2 or 3 years.
Profession: I am a Maternity Nurse.
Why did you enter the profession?
I started to work as a nanny in Hong Kong for a French family after leaving university. The job was going to involve travel and I thought it would be nice to follow a family, travel around and be paid to look after the 2 children.
Do you have a background/education in childcare or teaching?
I have a university degree in social work from a French University. After working as a troubleshooter via an agency in Hong Kong, and dealing more and more with babies, I decided to take the maternity nurse training and become a maternity nurse full time.
What were the challenges you faced at the start of your career?
As a troubleshooter, I had to face lots of situations and I didn’t always have the knowledge needed. l literally had to learn on the spot and sometimes had to provide vague answers to questions (I used to go home and research the right answer!). I had good instincts as I looked after a baby for 18 months before as a nanny but it was sometimes very hard when the question was very “technical”.
What are families looking for in an Elite maternity nurse?
Just like with any other nannies, parents want to make sure their children are safe and doing what they should be in the care of a maternity nurse. If they choose an Elite one (experienced), they are paying for the peace of mind and to be sure every situation will be dealt with without much input from them. They want the maternity nurse or nanny to do the right thing that will probably be what they would be doing themselves.
Tell us a little about your first position and what it taught you?
My first position was a maternity nurse for a single mother, very wealthy and she trusted me 100% with her baby and wanted to learn from me. She always had questions that I sometimes couldn’t answer well but I made sure to study and research to be able to come up with the right answer.
I stayed with her a few months working night shifts. She just wanted her baby to be safe, have a routine and get good sleep habits established early on. She trusted me 100% and the little one is now 14 and both mum and daughter are still in touch.
What skills are unique to an elite maternity nurse?
I learnt to listen to people and each situation, giving “moral support” as there is nothing “wrong” with the baby but some parents simply don’t have an idea what to do with a baby! Unique skills are discretion, you have to be around all the time but learn to give the family “their” space. I also think you need to earn their trust, communicate and not forget you are there to work for them, you’re not their friend.
Since then, give us some insight into your favourite jobs and what made them so special?
My favourite jobs are the families I go back to for a 2nd or 3rd baby. I love that families call me back. The booking normally goes very smoothly as we know each other already.
What has been the most challenging situation you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?
My most challenging situation was to deal with a mum with postnatal depression in a country I knew nothing about. I didn’t know who to turn to to get help. I ended up speaking to a health visitor and explained what was going on (single mum). It was very hard and draining both physically and mentally. I turned to a forum (Facebook groups were not popular then) and ended up chatting with some maternity nurses who gave me some courage!
What is it like to care for children of elite families in the world?
As a maternity nurse, having to look after a baby from an Elite family is not different than a “normal” family. The environment might be more pleasant to work in, but I can’t say there is a difference in the quality of service I provide. You just need to be open-minded and remember some Elite families have everything done by staff and things that might seem basic might make no sense for an Elite family!
What do you love most about your job?
Making sure that by the time I leave, I have happy parents with a happy baby and that they know what to do and enjoy each other with confidence that I have given them.
What are your top tips for interview?
Answer the question they ask without giving plenty of details about past clients. Clients want to make sure you won’t talk about them later!
What would be your advice to new candidates entering the profession?
Keep researching new stuff, be open minded and up to date with latest regulations/ techniques. Don’t have a yes/no attitude, sometimes a maybe might work. Keep in mind the family dynamic and do everything so that baby and parents are happy.
Why do you prefer being a maternity nurse over say working I an office?
I love being a maternity nurse as I meet families from lots of backgrounds/cultures. I live close to people for a few weeks and despite the fact I am an outsider, I need to fit in the family (keeping in mind employers are not my friends). I studied social work and love observing how people live and what image they have outside/at home.
Lastly, what are your dreams and hopes for the future? Travel more with my work, I love Hong Kong and I am very fortunate to be based there. I am trying to open my field to Europe to come back to this part of the world one day!