Jade Lam, dental hygienist and midwife. Age: 34. Career path: When I left school I knew I wanted to nurse, but I eventually decided on dental work because I'm basically lazy and the shift work in regular nursing put me off! I knew that if I was a dental nurse, I would work regular hours and studying would take only one year as opposed to the three it takes to become a nurse. I trained at the Prince Philip Dental Hospital and graduated as a dental surgery assistant 10 years ago. I worked at the hospital as a dental assistant and nurse for a couple of years. But it became very boring so I did the one-year dental hygienist course at the hospital and then started in private practice as a hygienist. I now work for three dental clinics, Monday to Saturday. Jade's day: I get my child ready for school and then by 9 am I start at one of the three clinics at which I work. I usually have a full day of appointments, mostly to do scaling and polishing, but sometimes I do special whitening treatments and X-rays, if the dentist asks me. A scale and polish takes about an hour and once I start I need to concentrate quite hard because if I slip or am careless with some of the instruments I use, I could hurt the patient. Some patients are okay, but others are impatient and difficult. I try to make people feel at ease when I start and I tell them that nothing will hurt, especially if I can see they are nervous. Most people think a polish only takes five minutes and they start getting restless, but it really does take the best part of an hour if it is done properly. Others complain about various procedures: the baking soda, for example, is a part of the cleaning that a lot of people don't like. Then there are other patients who fall asleep and their mouth keeps closing. It is challenging to get a patient's teeth looking clean and decent and I do derive some satisfaction from this, although it is a fiddly and lengthy job. I would say less than 20 percent of people know how to brush and floss their teeth properly so I usually have quite a big job on my hands. I always try to teach people how to brush and floss and hope they will do it, but some people just don't place any priority on their teeth and others are too busy to bother to do it properly. Salary: Around HK$20,000 a month. Ambition: To have more children. And one day to do something completely different. Tricia Ruffer, midwife and managing director of Everdawn Midwifery Counselling Services Age: I'm not going to tell you. Career path: I was born in Lancashire, Bolton, and moved to the south of England when I was 16. I joined the Royal Sussex Country Hospital in Brighton and spent the next six years doing general nursing, midwifery and children's nursing. During the '80s, there was an upheaval in National Health pay scales and I found that, after all my training, I wasn't earning much more than a student nurse. So I decided on a change. A London agency found me a midwife's position in a busy labour ward of an American hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I ended up staying for a whole year and met my partner there. When the Gulf War started in 1989, he came to Hong Kong and I joined him in 1990. At first I worked at the Matilda Hospital, but I had been working really long hours in Saudi Arabia and didn't feel like long shifts any more, so I got a job at Whitehead Detention Centre working for Medicins Sans Frontieres. It was very rewarding because I was able to set up my own antenatal and postnatal clinics and even do my own ultrasound scans. I left in 1994 and was already doing part-time work for Everdawn when the business was put up for sale. I was fortunate to be able to buy it. Everdawn was the first service of its kind when it started in 1990. It's become well-known as it offers new mothers an education and social support system, antenatal classes and a hand's-on back-up service. I now have eight midwives, three health visitor (trained in child development), two physiotherapists and two dieticians working for Everdawn. Tricia's day: I live in Sai Kung and run the business from an office in my home. I start work at around 8 am every day when I tackle the administrative chores. I then set out on my postnatal visits at about midday, driving all over Hong Kong for the rest of the day to visit women with new babies. On Tuesday nights, I also run antenatal classes. I find there is an ever greater need in Hong Kong for the support and education service we provide because most women are away from their own mothers and extended family when they have new babies and can feel quite isolated and bewildered. A big part of our jobs is encouraging and helping women who are breastfeeding which is one reason why I did a Lactation Consultant's Course last year. I see mainly expats, but we do have more Chinese clients. There is a great need in Hong Kong for education about breastfeeding because only eight per cent of the others here breastfeed. When I get home, I usually spend another two or three hours in the office. This job suits me down to the ground. I like going to see clients and I also enjoy teaching antenatal classes, but I must say I am kept very busy seven days a week. When women book packages with Everdawn, we go to their home to visit the first day they come out of hospital and this means I also work most Sundays, despite the fact I have eight midwives working for me. People do ring up for advice in the evenings, but not as much as I thought they would. I used to sew and do embroidery for a hobby, but I don't seem to have time any more. Salary: At least HK$25,000. Ambition: To stay here for the time being.