Yale School of Nursing, Yale University's Graduate Nursing Programs

Allison Shorten, PhD, RN, RM, FACM

shortenAssociate Professor of Nursing

Division of Acute Care/Health Systems

Yale School of Nursing - Rm 20510
Yale University West Campus
P.O. Box 27399
West Haven, CT 06516


203.737.1748 fax

Allison Shorten is an Australian registered nurse and midwife. Dr. Shorten's research over many years has explored important determinants of birth outcomes including models of care delivery, health insurance, practitioner practice styles and the cascade of intervention. She has conducted a range of costing studies including a comparison of obstetric practices for birth after caesarean section and her decision-aid research provides an important perspective into supporting women making choices about birth after previous caesarean.

Dr. Shorten achieved a Diploma of Applied Science (Nursing) with Distinction from the University of Wollongong, Australia, in 1988. Dux of her graduating year, she won the Illawarra Award for Nursing excellence and Illawarra Hospital Prize for Nursing. She received her BN in 1990, qualified as a registered midwife in 1991, and graduated with a MS (Community Health) in 1994. Dr. Shorten undertook doctoral studies at the University of Sydney, achieving a PhD in 2006 for her work in developing and evaluating a decision-aid booklet titled "Birth Choices," designed to support women making choices about method of birth after previous caesarean. Her Birth Choices decision-aid has evolved into a valuable resource utilized by numerous hospitals around Australia in supporting women's decision making about their options for birth. As a result of her entrepreneurial flair she was named winner of the Trailblazer Award 2008 UniQuest Competition for original, innovative, and entrepreneurial research.

Professor Shorten has made significant contributions to issues affecting the development of midwifery in Australia. As the appointed Project Leader of the National Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Project of the Australian College of Midwives (ACM) in 2006, she led the design and launch of a best-practice national CPD program, funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing. Dr. Shorten named the program 'MidPLUS' to reflect the value added to the midwifery profession when midwives are supported in their professional development allowing them to remain competent and contemporary in providing care for women and families. 'MidPLUS' has been endorsed by state regulatory boards and is now widely recognized and utilized by Australian midwives and healthcare organizations. Building on the success of this work, Dr. Shorten was commissioned to co-author the first ACM E-Learning package designed to support midwives in their continuing professional development, paving the way for expansion of flexible learning resources tailored to meet the needs of practicing midwives.

Dr. Shorten also has been appointed as an Associate Editor for the journal Evidence-Based Nursing (EBN). She brings to the editorial team her expertise in midwifery and women's health, as well as her experiences in both Australia and the United States. She works with the editorial team to assess the rigor and relevance of newly published health-related research. She also provides editorial support for selected expert commentaries focusing on communicating key research findings and identifying implications for clinical nursing practice. The EBN is international in scope and is published by British Medical Journal (BMJ) and Royal College of Nursing (RCN). 

Dr. Shorten recently travelled to Fukuoka in Japan to speak at a symposium on shared decision making for birth. Her work on pregnancy decision-aids has been influential in development of new research to support a shift towards shared decision making for birth after cesarean. Dr. Shorten is an expert on pregnancy decision-aids and has been engaged in collaborative work with colleagues in Japan, Canada, New Zealand and the USA. Dr Shorten's Birth Choices decision-aid has been translated into Japanese and French, and ongoing funded collaborative research is poised to contribute to improving decision making experiences for pregnant women.

Dr. Shorten has extensive experience in academic roles and promotes student engagement in research, connecting learning, teaching and research activities through reflective and responsive course design. Her collaborative teaching scholarship has demonstrated the benefits of integrating information literacy into nursing curriculum. Her use of case-based learning strategies also encourages students to engage with current nursing and midwifery research which develops student abilities to solve clinical problems and identify future research questions, vital for the development of professional knowledge.

Selected publications

Shorten, A., Shorten , B. (2014)Timing the provision of a pregnancy decision-aid: Temporal patterns of preference for mode of birth during pregnancy. Patient Education and Counseling. Published on-line July 18th DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2014.07.011

Shorten, A., Shorten, B., Powell Kennedy, H. (2014) ‘Complexities of Choice after Prior Cesarean: A Narrative Analysis’ Birth. 41 (2): 178-8

Coffey, K., & Shorten, A. (in press). The challenge of pre-conception counseling: Using reproductive life planning in primary care. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. 

Shorten A, Shorten B, Powell-Kennedy H. ‘Complexities of Choice after Prior Cesarean: A Narrative Analysis’ Birth (In Press).

Goldberg H, Shorten A. Patient and Provider Perceptions of Decision Making About Use of Epidural Analgesia During Childbirth: A Thematic Analysis. Journal of Perinatal Education (Accepted November 2013). 

Goldberg H, Shorten A. ‘Differences between patient and provider perceptions of informed decision making about epidural analgesia use during childbirth’ Journal of Perinatal Education (Accepted November 2013).

Shorten A, A growing need for patient voices in research, Evidence Based Nursing Blog (BMJ Group Blogs)October 25 2013 http://blogs.bmj.com/ebn/2013/10/25/a-growing-need-for-patient-voices-in-research/

Shorten A, A call to nursing leadership and service, Evidence Based Nursing Blog (BMJ Group Blogs) November 23 2013 http://blogs.bmj.com/ebn/2013/11/23/a-call-to-nursing-leadership-and-service/

Dugas, M., Shorten, A., Dube, E., Wassef, M., Bujold, E., & Chaillet, N. (2012). Decision aid tools to support women’s decision making in pregnancy and birth: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Social Science & Medicine, 74, 1968-1978.

Shorten A, Shorten B. (2012) Success, Satisfaction and Postnatal Health: The importance of mode of birth after previous cesarean. Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health, 57(2): 126-132

Jones SCTelenta JShorten AJohnson K. (2011) Midwives and pregnant women talk about alcohol: what advice do we give and what do they receive? Midwifery 27(4):489-96.

Shorten, A. & Shorten, B. (2009, June). 'Independent midwifery care versus NHS care in the UK: A need to balance risk and choice'. British Medical Journal, Commissioned Editorial 11. hhtp://www.bmj/cgi/content/full/bmj.

Shorten, A. (2007, October). 'Maternal and Neonatal effects of caesarean section' http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content full/ . British Medical Journal.

Shorten, A., Shorten, B. & West, S. (2007). "Preparing Consumers for Shared Decisions: Analysing the Effectiveness of a Decision-Aid for Women Making Choices about Birth after Caesarean", in Elizabeth Blakely. In , Psychology of Decision-Making in Healthcare. (pp. 73-104). Hauppauge NY: Nova Science Publishers (ISBN: 1-60021-853-9.).

Shorten, A. & Shorten, B. (2007). 'What happens when a private hospital comes to town? The impact of the 'public' to 'private' hospital shift on regional birthing outcomes'. Women and Birth, 20(2), 49-55.

Shorten, A., Shorten, B., Keogh, J., West, S. & Morris, J. (2005). 'Making Choices for Childbirth: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Decision-aid for Informed Birth after Cesarean'. Birth, 32(4), 253-262.

Wallace, M. & Shorten, A. (2005). 'the challenge of implementing clinical guidelines' Commentary. Evidence-based Healthcare & Public Health, 9, 276-277.

Shorten, B. & Shorten, A. (2004). 'Impact of private health insurance incentives on obstetric outcomes in NSW hospital'. Australian Health Review, 27(1), 27-38.

Shorten, A., Chamberlain, M., Shorten, B. & Kariminia, A. (2004). 'Making choices for childbirth: development and testing of a decision-aid for women who have experienced previous caesarean'. Patient Education and Counseling, 52(3), 307-13.

Shorten, A., Donsante, J. & Shorten, B. (2002). 'Birth Position, Accoucheur and Perineal outcomes: Informing women about choices for vaginal birth'. Birth, 2002, 29(1), 18-27.