Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineFaculty of Medicine Centre




shawn.walker Website




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.

Shawn trained 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 also a clinically active consultant midwife who has worked in 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 and working closely with my obstetric, anaesthetic and neonatal colleagues to do this. It focused on the question: How can clinicians learn to safely deliver breech babies in the current maternity care context, given minimal opportunities to attend breech births?

From 2012-2014, Shawn pioneered the clinical role of Breech Specialist Midwife at James Paget University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, a small unit with 1900 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 the 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 and the Netherlands. She currently leads the Vaginal Breech Birth study day offered through the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

In addition to her clinical interest in care for women with breech presentation pregnancies, methodologically, Shawn is interested in the development of complex interventions and testing them in clinical trials. Shawn's NIHR Advanced Fellowship funded feasibility work to undertake 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 and research 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.

You can book an appointment to meet with Shawn via her Calendly.