Allison Cummins coordinates the Graduate Diploma in Midwifery and teaches both in the undergraduate and post-graduate midwifery programs at UTS. She has developed teaching and learning grants, including a one-touch midwifery app for smartphones, and other online and workshop projects.
Allison’s research interests include the introduction and support for midwifery continuity of care models (where a known and trusted midwife provides care to a mother during pregnancy), and birth and the early parenting period. Her interest in these areas stems from working at the Royal Hospital for Women as a midwifery educator who was intimately involved in the introduction of midwifery group practice models of care.
Allison has been a practicing midwife for over 20 years working with women in home and hospital settings. She continues to work as a midwife at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on a casual basis, her practice complementing her teaching role. Allison also provides private antenatal classes to women and their partners.
She is an active member of the Australian College of Midwives and sits on its Professional Development committee.
Can supervise: YES
- Midwifery continuity of care models
- New graduate midwives’ experiences
- Teaching and learning
Areas of research supervision
- Women’s experiences of maternity care
Midwifery - undergraduate and postgraduate
Gray, M, Kitson-Reynolds, E & Cummins, A 2019, Starting Life as a Midwife An international review of transition from student to practitioner, Springer.
This book appeals to midwives, managers, educators, and newly graduated interested in international midwifery practice. This volume explores the unique challenges midwifery graduates face as they move into practice.
Includes 18 chapters, each presenting a variety of stories from women, midwives and family members around a range of topics related to birthing and midwifery Includes 24 video stories presenting personal accounts from a range of lived ...
Cummins, AM, Catling, C & Homer, CSE 2018, 'Enabling new graduate midwives to work in midwifery continuity of care models: A conceptual model for implementation.', Women and Birth, vol. 31, no. 8, pp. 343-349.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
High-level evidence demonstrates midwifery continuity of care is beneficial for women and babies. Women have limited access to midwifery continuity of care models in Australia. One of the factors limiting women's access is recruiting enough midwives to work in continuity. Our research found that newly graduated midwives felt well prepared to work in midwifery led continuity of care models, were well supported to work in the models and the main driver to employing them was a need to staff the models. However limited opportunities exist for new graduate midwives to work in midwifery continuity of care.The aim of this paper therefore is to describe a conceptual model developed to enable new graduate midwives to work in midwifery continuity of care models.The findings from a qualitative study were synthesised with the existing literature to develop a conceptual model that enables new graduate midwives to work in midwifery continuity of care.The model contains the essential elements to enable new graduate midwives to work in midwifery continuity of care models.Each of the essential elements discussed are to assist midwifery managers, educators and new graduates to facilitate the organisational changes required to accommodate new graduates.The conceptual model is useful to show maternity services how to enable new graduate midwives to work in midwifery continuity of care models.
Hogan, R, Orr, F, Fox, D, Cummins, A & Foureur, M 2018, 'Developing nursing and midwifery students' capacity for coping with bullying and aggression in clinical settings: Students' evaluation of a learning resource.', Nurse education in practice, vol. 29, pp. 89-94.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
An innovative blended learning resource for undergraduate nursing and midwifery students was developed in a large urban Australian university, following a number of concerning reports by students on their experiences of bullying and aggression in clinical settings. The blended learning resource included interactive online learning modules, comprising film clips of realistic clinical scenarios, related readings, and reflective questions, followed by in-class role-play practice of effective responses to bullying and aggression. On completion of the blended learning resource 210 participants completed an anonymous survey (65.2% response rate). Qualitative data was collected and a thematic analysis of the participants' responses revealed the following themes: 'Engaging with the blended learning resource'; 'Responding to bullying' and 'Responding to aggression'. We assert that developing nursing and midwifery students' capacity to effectively respond to aggression and bullying, using a self-paced blended learning resource, provides a solution to managing some of the demands of the clinical setting. The blended learning resource, whereby nursing and midwifery students were introduced to realistic portrayals of bullying and aggression in clinical settings, developed their repertoire of effective responding and coping skills for use in their professional practice.
Cummins, AM, Wight, R, Watts, N & Catling, C 2018, 'Introducing sensitive issues and self-care strategies to first year midwifery students.', Midwifery, vol. 61, pp. 8-14.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
OBJECTIVE:first year midwifery students learn early in semester about situations in midwifery where a high level of emotion is expressed, such as taking a sexual history, being faced with the body image changes of pregnancy and working with women in the extreme pain of labour. Commencing students usually have not had exposure to the realities of studying and working in midwifery, and often have an idealised view of midwifery that may lead to attrition from the course. We aimed to equip students with personal and professional tools to discuss sensitive issues in midwifery and promote self-care through the development of two workshops. The first workshop focussed on sensitive issues in midwifery and the second on self-care strategies. DESIGN:quantitative and qualitative data were collected pre and post workshops using a survey. SETTING:the workshops were developed at one university in New South Wales, Australia. PARTICIPANTS:Beginning first year midwifery students MEASUREMENTS: feeling more comfortable, confident and knowledgeable was measured using a paired t-test from the responses on a pre and post workshop survey. Content analysis was performed on the qualitative survey responses. FINDINGS:there were significant increases in the students feeling more comfortable to discuss sensitive issues in midwifery following the first workshop. They found meeting new people, respecting opinions, normalizing confronting topics to be valuable and useful. The second workshop found significant differences in being more confident and knowledgeable to access and try new self-care strategies in both their personal and professional life. Students discussed learning to be more mindful in order to prepare for stressful situations. They became aware of their feeling and thoughts when under stress and said they would practice techniques including meditation. CONCLUSION:the workshops assisted the students to develop peer support, self-care strategies and coping mechanisms when faced wit...
Cummins, AM, Smith, R, Catling, C, Watts, N, Scarf, V, Fox, D & Gray, J 2018, 'Midwifery Graduate Attributes: A model for curriculum development and education.', Midwifery, vol. 61, pp. 66-69.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Models of midwifery education need to evolve to meet changing needs of the profession. This requires a constant process of review and re-evaluation of curricula. Courses that lead to midwifery registration must not only meet national and international standards, but many also commit to producing graduates who meet course-specific graduate attributes. These attributes differ between models of education and courses and are pivotal in providing clear direction for the development of higher level abilities in graduates. Visionary graduate attributes provide the opportunity to prepare graduates to function and flourish in a fast changing social and professional environment and to prepare them for a future that is largely unknown (Bowden et al., 2000).
The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has embraced the concept of graduate attributes and all graduates are expected to demonstrate capability in both University and course-specific attributes. The UTS model of learning provides a framework for practice oriented learning that aligns graduate attributes and curriculum design. The model is focussed on three distinctive areas, practice oriented education situated in a global workplace through learning that is research inspired and integrated (UTS 2017). Each course offered by UTS has embedded graduate attributes that reflect the overall aim of the course. These provide important information for students, the public and future employers as to what personal, professional and intellectual attributes to expect from a graduate of that course.
Commencing in 2012, the midwifery team undertook a project to develop visionary attributes for midwifery graduates and this paper describes and discusses the development and implementation process of the graduate attributes model.
Symon, A, McFadden, A, White, M, Fraser, K & Cummins, A 2018, 'Adapting the Quality Maternal and Newborn Care (QMNC) Framework to evaluate models of antenatal care: A pilot study.', PloS one, vol. 13, no. 8, pp. e0200640-e0200640.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
BACKGROUND:Recent evidence indicates that continuity models of maternity care result in improved clinical and psychosocial outcomes, but their causal mechanisms are poorly understood. The recent Lancet Series on Midwifery's Quality Maternal and Newborn Care Framework describes five components of quality care and their associated characteristics. As an initial step in developing this Framework into an evaluation toolkit, we transformed its components and characteristics into a topic guide to assess stakeholder perceptions and experiences of care provided and received. The main purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of this process. METHODS:We conducted twelve focus groups in two Scottish health board areas with 13 pregnant women, 18 new mothers, 26 midwives and 12 obstetricians who had experience of a range of different models of maternity care. Transcripts were analysed using a six-phase approach of thematic analysis. We mapped the identified themes and sub-themes back to the Framework. RESULTS:The emerging themes and sub-themes demonstrated the feasibility of using the QMNC framework as a data collection tool, and as a lens for analysing the data. Of the four emerging themes, only Organisation Culture / Work Structure' mapped directly to a single Framework component. The others-'Relationships'; 'Information and support'; and 'Uncertainty'-mapped to between two and five components, illustrating the interconnectedness of the Framework's components. Some negative sub-themes mirrored positive Framework characteristics of care. Some re-phrasing and re-ordering of the topic guides in later focus groups ensured we could cover all aspects of the Framework adequately. CONCLUSION:Adapting the Quality Maternal and Newborn Care Framework enabled us to focus on aspects of care which worked well and which didn't work well for these key stakeholders. Identifying 'what works for whom and why' in different models of care is a necessary step in reinforcing and replic...
Minooee, S, Cummins, A & Foureur, M 2018, 'Shoulder dystocia and range of head-body delivery interval (HBDI): The association between prolonged HBDI and neonatal outcomes: Protocol for a systematic review.', European journal of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology, vol. 229, pp. 82-87.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
OBJECTIVE:Shoulder dystocia (SD) is an obstetric emergency which if not carefully diagnosed and managed, can contribute to lifelong neonatal morbidities. Despite current guidelines on the definition of SD (impaction of the fetal shoulder behind the maternal symphysis pubis and need for ancillary manoeuvres or head-body delivery interval (HBDI) >60 s) its accurate diagnosis requires clinical expertise as well as overall consideration of feto-maternal condition. Based on the literature available, our study aims to determine (1) the range of HBDI as an indicator of SD and (2) the neonatal complications occurring following prolonged HBDI in normal or SD-complicated births. STUDY DESIGN:A comprehensive literature search will be conducted in the following databases MEDLINE, CINAHL and Scopus (Elsevier) as well as international obstetric guidelines to find English language published data since 1970 that evaluate HBDI, prolonged HBDI and associated neonatal outcomes. Retrospective/prospective observational studies and randomized controlled trials will be recruited. As heterogeneity in definitions of SD among studies is expected, we will categorize our results according to the following two definitions: 1-Bony obstruction of fetal shoulder behind the maternal symphysis pubis or less commonly, posterior shoulder on sacral promontory and need for ancillary manoeuvres or 2- Head-body delivery interval (HBDI)> 60 s). Two reviewers will independently identify eligible studies, assess risk of bias and extract data based on predefined checklists. Outcomes of interest will be the HBDI in normal and SD-complicated births and associated neonatal consequences. DISCUSSION:Findings of this systematic review will provide reliable information regarding (1) the interval between birth of the head and birth of the shoulders and (2) neonatal outcomes attributed to either true SD or prolonged HBDI. Our findings will add to the knowledge of whether prolonged HBDI is an appropriate definition ...
Valizadeh, S, Hosseinzadeh, M, Mohammadi, E, Hassankhani, H, Fooladi, MM & Cummins, A 2018, 'Coping mechanism against high levels of daily stress by working breastfeeding mothers in Iran', International Journal of Nursing Sciences, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 39-44.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2017 Chinese Nursing Association Objectives: Breastfeeding mothers returning to work undertake multiple conflicting roles at home and work that can result in high levels of stress. Exploring coping skills amongst these mothers can help in planning useful programmes to promote family wellbeing. This study aims to explore the experiences of working breastfeeding mothers and their coping mechanism against high levels of daily stress. Methods: In this qualitative study, we described the experiences of 20 Iranian breastfeeding mothers through in-depth and semi-structured interviews. All interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Two main themes emerged as follows: 1) self-management with subthemes of a) attitude reconstruction, b) order and planning, c) creating a boundary between work and family and d) reprioritising life affairs; and 2) seeking help with subthemes of a) family member support, b) childcare facilities and c) spirituality. Conclusions: Findings suggest that women need support from family members and family-friendly policies at the workplace. Breastfeeding mothers may benefit from educational programmes that focus on effective coping strategies.
Cummins, A 2017, 'Extending the boundaries – Enabling new graduate midwives to work in midwifery continuity of care models in Australia', Women and Birth, vol. 30, pp. 18-19.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Cummins, AM, Denney-Wilson, E & Homer, CSE 2017, 'The mentoring experiences of new graduate midwives working in midwifery continuity of care models in Australia.', Nurse Education in Practice, vol. 24, pp. 106-111.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The aim of this paper was to explore the mentoring experiences of new graduate midwives working in midwifery continuity of care models in Australia. Most new graduates find employment in hospitals and undertake a new graduate program rotating through different wards. A limited number of new graduate midwives were found to be working in midwifery continuity of care. The new graduate midwives in this study were mentored by more experienced midwives. Mentoring in midwifery has been described as being concerned with confidence building based through a personal relationship. A qualitative descriptive study was undertaken and the data were analysed using continuity of care as a framework. We found having a mentor was important, knowing the mentor made it easier for the new graduate to call their mentor at any time. The new graduate midwives had respect for their mentors and the support helped build their confidence in transitioning from student to midwife. With the expansion of midwifery continuity of care models in Australia mentoring should be provided for transition midwives working in this way.
Catling, C, Hogan, R, Fox, D, Cummins, A, Kelly, M & Sheehan, A 2016, 'Simulation workshops with first year midwifery students.', Nurse Education in Practice, vol. 17, pp. 109-115.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Simulated teaching methods enable a safe learning environment that are structured, constructive and reflective. We prepared a 2-day simulation project to help prepare students for their first clinical practice. A quasi-experimental pre-test - post-test design was conducted. Qualitative data from the open-ended survey questions were analysed using content analysis. Confidence intervals and p-values were calculated to demonstrate the changes in participants' levels of understanding/ability or confidence in clinical midwifery skills included in the simulation. 71 midwifery students participated. Students rated their understanding, confidence, and abilities as higher after the simulation workshop, and higher still after their clinical experience. There were five main themes arising from the qualitative data: having a learning experience, building confidence, identifying learning needs, developing communication skills and putting skills into practise. First year midwifery students felt well prepared for the clinical workplace following the simulation workshops. Self-rated understanding, confidence and abilities in clinical midwifery skills were significantly higher following consolidation during clinical placement. Longitudinal studies on the relationship between simulation activities and student's overall clinical experience, their intentions to remain in midwifery, and facility feedback, would be desirable.
Cummins, A, Denney-Wilson, E & Homer, CS 2016, 'The challenge of employing and managing new graduate midwives in midwifery group practices in hospitals', Journal of Nursing Management, vol. 24, no. 5, pp. 614-623.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Cummins, AM, Denney-Wilson, E & Homer, CSE 2015, 'The experiences of new graduate midwives working in midwifery continuity of care models in Australia', Midwifery, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 438-444.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Cummins, AM, Catling, C, Hogan, R & Homer, CS 2014, 'Addressing culture shock in 1st year midwifery students: maximising the initial clinical experience', Women and Birth, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 271-275.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Background Many Bachelor of Midwifery students have not had any exposure to the hospital setting prior to their clinical placement. Students have reported their placements are foreign to them, with a specialised confusing `language. It is important to provide support to students to prevent culture shock that may lead to them leaving the course.
Catling, C, White, H, Cummins, AM & Hogan, R 2014, 'The Virtual Tutor Project: a student-friendly guide to clinical skills', Clinical Simulation in Nursing, vol. 10, no. 5, pp. e277-e280.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Using a variety of different teaching methods is an important educational strategy to facilitate learning. There was a need to provide effective education to nursing and midwifery students that used current technology, and was user-friendly. The aim of the Virtual Tutor project was to enhance nursing and midwifery students' learning of key clinical skills: inserting a female urinary catheter, adult resuscitation and priming an intravenous therapy line, using step by step videos for students' self-directed use. Three `how to videos of the clinical skills were made and embedded into the undergraduate nursing and midwifery clinical subjects. Evaluative feedback was gained from students and the project team. Surveys were completed by students after they had used one or more of the videos. The results showed that the use of the Virtual Tutor videos was helpful in enhancing the student's experience of learning clinical skills, and most students stated that they would access the videos again for self-directed study. The conclusion was that practical, accessible videos of how to perform common clinical skills are a useful learning tool for nursing and midwifery students.
Cummins, AM 2016, 'The mentoring experiences of new graduate midwives working in midwifery continuity of care models in Australia.', Nurse Education Today Nurse Education in Practice (NETNEP), Brisbane Australia.
Cummins, AM 2016, 'What are the experiences of new graduate midwives working in midwifery continuity of care models?', 11th International Normal Labour and Birth conference, Western Sydney University.
Cummins, AM 2014, 'Addressing culture shock in first year Bachelor of Midwifery students: maximising the first clinical placement', NETNEP 5th International nurse education conference, Netherlands.
BACKGROUND: In Australia, the Bachelor of Midwifery program leads to registration as a midwife. The course is popular and students have many reasons for applying for the course and becoming a midwife. The majority of the students have not had any exposure to a hospital or clinical practice. The clinical practice in hospitals is critical to learning but students report a significant level of culture shock when they undertake their initial placement. Hospitals are usually foreign places and contain unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells and also have their own `language and culture. This can be confusing and challenging for students especially in their first year. AIM: To assist first year midwifery students with the transition into clinical practice by developing and testing strategies to incorporate into a preparatory workshop. METHODS: Four phases were undertaken to develop resources that could be integrated into a preparatory workshop for first year midwifery students. These included discussion groups with students returning from clinical practice; videos (vodcasts) of second year students; videos (vodcasts) of hospital clinical facilitators expectations of first year midwifery students; and, a video to demystify the clinical handover using simulation. The resources were incorporated into a workshop that the first year students attended the week before their clinical placement. The project was evaluated when the students returned to university after clinical practice. FINDINGS: Students rated the workshop positively in terms of the transition into clinical practice especially the simulated handover and the vodcasts of second year students. Further recommendations from the surveys requests that students come to the classroom and that complications of labour and birth be included in the curriculum as students were unexpectedly exposed to this in their first clinical placement
Cummins, A 2013, 'Addressing culture shock in 1st year midwifery students: Maximising the initial clinical experience', WOMEN AND BIRTH, ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, pp. S24-S24.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Cummins, AM 2014, 'The Art and Science of supporting midwifery students in clinical practice', Australian college of Midwives 18th Bienniel conference, Hobart, Tasmania.
The workshop is designed for midwives working alongside midwifery students in clinical practice and aims to enable midwives to support students to grow into competent and confident midwives. Within the literature there are several examples of how best to support midwifery students in clinical practice. The reality of the midwifery workforce is staff shortages and high levels of activity in many maternity services constrain the support of students. High attrition rates of midwifery students further endanger the ageing and diminishing midwifery workforce. Through active discussion and debate, a review of the literature will be presented to highlight the best models that enable midwives to support students in clinical practice. Participants will experience a range of innovative and creative strategies, to assist midwives in supporting midwifery students to develop into valued members of the midwifery profession.