Ethel Burns RM, MSc

Senior Lecturer Midwifery

Personal Profile

Ethel is an experienced Midwife and has been a Midwifery Lecturer since 1996. Her PhD involved evaluating childbirth outcomes for women who used a birthing pool during labour. Ethel cares passionately about optimising women's health and wellbeing during pregnancy and beyond. She has worked in a range of middle to high and low income countries, which have included Italy, Eire, Russia, Nigeria, Uganda, Vietnam and Nagorno Karabagh. Projects have involved running skills workshops for maternity clinicians, developing midwifery curricula and critical thinking skills. Ethel is also an active clinician and has expertise in intrapartum care provision.

Research Interests

  • Use of birthing pools during labour and waterbirth
  • Intrapartum physiology, care and outcomes; for example, perineal trauma
  • Promoting maternal health and wellbeing during pregnancy and the postnatal period


In addition to being subject coordinator for pre-registration MSc midwifery programmes, dissertation supervisor, providing lectures and seminars on a range of intrapartum related topics, and involvement in OSCEs, Ethel is module leader for
  • Research linked modules undertaken by BSc and MSc midwifery students in their first and second year (Introduction to Critical Appraisal Skills for Midwifery, and Progressing Critical Appraisal Skills for Midwifery)
  • Global Perspectives for Midwifery, which provides international insights and viewpoints around labour and birth

Memberships and Collaborations

Ethel is committed to facilitating and promoting evidence based care. She is a co-reviewer for the Cochrane library. She collaborates with an Italian initiative, Instituto Richerca de Interventi Salute (IRIS), which is linked to Milan University and led by an obstetrician, paediatrician and behavioural psychologist. IRIS promotes the adoption of evidence based midwifery and obstetric practice, runs workshops for maternity caregivers throughout Italy and holds an international conference every two years. Since an invitation to provide workshops on birthing pool use in 2013, Ethel has established collaboration with the Coombe maternity unit in Dublin, Eire which introduced a birthing pool facility in 2014. Initially women were only supported to use the pool during the first stage of labour, and in response to women’s wishes, the unit has revised its guideline to include waterbirth. This is currently the only maternity unit that offers a waterbirth option for women in Eire.

As a member of the Maternal and Newborn Forum, Royal Society of Medicine, she assists in organising events around pregnancy and childbirth. Other activities include membership of the Maternity and Child Health Statistics Information Exchange Group, Institute of Child Health, and the Executive group Intrapartum Clinical Study Group within the British Maternal and Fetal Medicine Society.