1. Gambito, Kathy MBA, CCE, CLE

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Expectant parents record everything from early pregnancy through birth in pictures, journals, and videotapes. What better way for parents to document the miracle of birth than through the eye of a camera? The camera provides couples with the ability to create photos, edit video footage, and relive the moments that may have been overlooked due to the activities occurring during labor and birth. Parents tell me that cameras are on the top of the list when packing labor bags; these days, couples won't leave home without them.


As wonderful as cameras are for expectant parents, healthcare professionals may not place them as high on the list of necessities at birth. However, many nurses and physicians are part of the show at home when friends and family view the film. In my opinion, the camera provides an opportunity for nurses to leave an impression as caring professionals with the families as well as the children who will want to know about the first people who touched them.


Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women in San Diego, CA, was fortunate to have the opportunity to provide families with a unique way of sharing their delivery with their friends, family, and the nation. Discovery Health Channel's "Birth Day Live!!," seen in more than 54 million homes nationwide, broadcast the births of babies being delivered at our institution in real time, for 10 straight hours; this allowed parents to not only have a video record of their birth experience, but also instantly share their joy with everyone. As the hospital and camera crew assisted in broadcasting these moments to America, we felt that the hospital gained exposure as viewers witnessed outstanding care and expertise in our facility. Staff was proud to have the opportunity to demonstrate the quality of care they provide and participate in live television; for many, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After the shows aired, the hospital's recruitment department received more than 15 telephone calls from nurses who lived outside of San Diego, resulting in seven interviews. With hospitals competing for nurses, our institution felt that the exposure of our labor and delivery unit on television enabled prospective applicants to see the work environment.


In my opinion, the camera provides an opportunity for nurses to leave a lasting impression as caring professionals.


As hospitals throughout the nation welcome media, allowing live or taped video footage, public trust can be built as consumers witness the excellent care provided. In this age of 24-hour television coverage, this type of publicity is surely more influential in creating a positive impression than hearing a commercial or reading an advertisement.


One professional article on this topic said, "Providing consumers the opportunity to use available technologies to preserve those memories demonstrates the nurse's confidence in her professional abilities and helps establish rapport with the patient-the single most important measure in preventing or reducing malpractice claims" (Cesario, 1998, p. 91). Now, with advances in technology allowing cameras to be concealed in cellular phones small enough to fit in a pocket, everyone must realize that he or she could be photographed at anytime, even without giving permission. As the technology improves, there may come a time when nurses and others in L&D will have to assume they might be a part of a video, even if they are unaware.


Whether the camera belongs to the parents or to a production crew of 50 people with 22,000 feet of cable and five robotic cameras strewn throughout the unit, the opportunity to record and share the experience provides a lifetime memory. The hospital can benefit through the opportunity to market, brand, and promote its services to potential patients and enhance recruitment of staff.


Of course, everyone in the birthing suite, including staff, needs to agree to the permanent recording of the experience. For some, this is a scary thought. But for most, this is an opportunity to memorialize an event that is undoubtedly a miracle every time!!




1.Cesario, S. (1998). Should cameras be allowed in the delivery room?MCN: The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, 23 (2), 87-91. [Context Link]