Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineFaculty of Medicine Centre

Researcher in Residence



shawn.walker Website CV




Hammersmith HouseHammersmith Campus





Shawn Walker is a Researcher in Residence and Honorary Consultant Midwife at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Shawn is currently funded through the Clinical Academic Training Office at Imperial and an NIHR Advanced Fellowship. You can book an appointment to meet with Shawn via her Calendly.

Shawn trained in Florida, USA, in a Certified Professional Midwife / Licensed Midwife programme, and at the University of Suffolk in Ipswich, qualifying as a midwife with an Advanced Diploma in 2010. She holds a PgCert in Academic Practice (Technology Enabled, 2016), a PhD from City University of London (2018) and is an Associate Fellow of the Institute of Higher Education.

Shawn is a clinically active consultant midwife who works across all midwifery settings -- home, freestanding and alongside midwifery units, and obstetric units. Her PhD research ("Competence and Expertise in Physiological Breech Birth") arose out of advocacy work with service users, seeking to improve the care pathway for women with breech-presenting babies. She has worked closely with obstetric, anaesthetic and neonatal colleagues for over a decade to do this. Shawn also helps the team to cover the local home birth service.

From 2012-2014, Shawn pioneered the clinical role of Breech Specialist Midwife at James Paget University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, a small unit with approximately 2000 births per year in Norfolk. Approximately 1:20 women who used this service transferred in from other hospitals due to unmet demand elsewhere. 

Out of her research, Shawn developed and evaluated a physiological breech birth training programme that is now delivered to over 2000 health care professionals globally each year through a not-for-profit company, of which she is a co-Director, Breech Birth Network CIC. Her evidence-based teaching materials are used in mandatory training in NHS Trusts and Ambulance Services, and her publications are referenced as key sources in midwifery breech training programmes in Canada, Norway and the Netherlands. She leads the Vaginal Breech Birth study day offered through the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the breech care component on the 'Management of the Labour Ward' course.

Methodologically, Shawn is interested in the development of complex interventions, especially midwife-led models of care, and testing them in clinical trials. Shawn's NIHR Advanced Fellowship funded feasibility work to prepare for a substantive clinical trial of the complex intervention, OptiBreech Care, and further training in design and delivery of clinical trials through the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

As a Researcher in Residence at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Shawn is helping to lead the development of clinical academic careers in nursing and midwifery, and is part of the CATO team to mentor and support nurses and midwives who wish to pursue a clinical academic role. Making Imperial a great place for NMAHPPs to pursue their own research interests and clinical academic careers is a key retention strategy within the Midwifery Department.