Alison completed a BSc (Hons) degree in Nursing Studies at the University of Surrey in 1990 followed by a Diploma in Health Education/RM from Cambridge College of Health Studies in 1995.
She worked as a midwife before travelling to Malawi with Voluntary Service Overseas as a Midwifery Tutor in 1996. On returning in 1998 Alison completed an MSc in Mother and Child Health at the University of London. She then commenced work at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists as a Research Fellow tasked with setting up and coordinating the National Sentinel Caesarean Section Audit. Alison joined the University of Surrey in 2001. Since then she has taken three mini career breaks to have children; she completed her PhD in 2015 and is now actively engaged in post-doctoral research. Alison is a member of the Medical Schools Council Selection Alliance, MMI Expert Group, INResH (International Network for Researchers in Selection into Health) and co-founder of the National MMI Interest group for Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health professionals. Alison was awarded Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2018.
University roles and responsibilities
- Practice Liaison Link Tutor at St Richards Hospital, Chichester
Alison's PhD focused on student selection strategies in pre-registration student midwife recruitment specifically the development and piloting of multiple mini interviews (MMIs). This was supported by the Iolanthe Midwifery Trust and was awarded The Rosemary Pope Memorial Award for 'outstanding contribution to nursing and midwifery education' in 2015.
Her post-doctoral research continues in education specifically innovation in relation to MMIs as well as immersive teaching and learning strategies. Alison has been awarded a number of Faculty grants/pump-priming to fund her research including: a longitudinal follow study exploring the reliability and predictive validity of MMIs from a cross-professional perspective, developing and piloting audio-drama MMIs, exploring the 'values journey' of healthcare students selected using MMIs in values based recruitment context and most recently automated transformations in MMIs and teaching and learning (Impact Acceleration Funding).
Alison is a member of the University of Surrey Ethics Committee; she was awarded Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Innovator of the Year in 2018.
Other interests include mixed methods research and women's health in developing countries.
Objectives: To examine the reliability (internal consistency) and predictive validity of MMIs using end of Year One practice outcomes of under-graduate pre-registration adult, child, mental health nursing, midwifery and paramedic practice students.
Design: Cross-discipline evaluation study. Setting: One university in the United Kingdom.
Participants: Data were collected in two streams: applicants to A) The September 2014 and 2015 Midwifery Studies programmes; B) September 2015 adult; Child and Mental Health Nursing and Paramedic Practice programmes. Fifty-seven midwifery students commenced their programme in 2014 and 69 in 2015; 47 and 54 agreed to participate and completed Year One respectively. 333 healthcare students commenced their programmes in September 2015. Of these, 281 agreed to participate and completed their first year (180 adult, 33 child and 34 mental health nursing and 34 paramedic practice students).
Methods: Stream A featured a seven station four-minute model with one interviewer at each station and in Stream B a six station model was employed. Cronbach?s alpha was used to assess MMI station internal consistency and Pearson?s moment correlation co-efficient to explore associations between participants? admission MMI score and end of Year one clinical practice outcomes (OSCE and mentor grading).
Stream A: Significant correlations are reported between midwifery applicant?s MMI scores and end of Year One practice outcomes. A multivariate linear regression model demonstrated that MMI score significantly predicted end of Year One practice outcomes controlling for age and academic entry level: coefficients 0.195 (p = 0.002) and 0.116 (p = 0.002) for OSCE and mentor grading respectively. In Stream B no significant correlations were found between MMI score and practice outcomes measured by mentor grading.
Internal consistency for each MMI station was ?excellent? with values ranging from 0.966?0.974 across Streams A and B.
Conclusion: This novel, cross-discipline study shows that MMIs are reliable VBR tools which have predictive validity when a seven station model is used. These data are important given the current international use of different MMI models in healthcare student selection processes.
Year One findings,Journal of Advanced Nursing 74 (5) pp. 1139-1149 Wiley
to explore how adult, child and mental health nursing and midwifery students, selected using
multiple mini interviews, describe their ?values journey? following exposure to the clinical practice
Values based recruitment incorporates assessment of healthcare students? personal
values using approaches like multiple mini interviews. Students? experience of adjustment to their
values during their programme is conceptualised as a ?values journey?. The impact of VBR in
alleviating erosion of personal values is unclear.
-professional longitudinal cohort study was commenced at one university in England
in 2016 with data collection points at the end of
sampling resulted in 42 healthcare students (8 adult, 8 child and 9 mental health nursing and 17
midwifery students) taking part.
-structured focus groups were conducted at the end of participants? Year One
(DC1). Data analysis incorporated inductive and deductive approaches in a hybrid synthesis.
Participants described a ?values journey? where their values, particularly communication,
courage and wanting to make a difference, were both challenged and retained. Participants personal
journeys also acknowledged the: ?courage it takes to use values?; ?reality of values in practice? and
?need for self-reflection on values?.
A discussion of issues associated with Values Based Recruitment for nurse education programmes.
Values Based Recruitment is a mandatory element in selection processes of students for Higher Education healthcare courses in England, including all programmes across nursing. Students are selected on the basis that their individual values align with those presented in the Constitution of the National Health Service. However, there are issues associated with the use of values as selection criteria that have been insufficiently addressed. These are discussed.
This article is based on documents published on the website of the executive body responsible for the implementation of a policy regarding Values Based Recruitment in Higher Education Institutions up until June 2017 and our evaluation of the conceptualisation of Values Based Recruitment, underpinned by contemporary theory and literature.
Implications for nursing
Values Based Recruitment influences who is accepted onto a nurse education programme, but there has been limited critical evaluation regarding the effectiveness of employing values as selection criteria. Values are subject to interpretation and evidence regarding whether or how Values Based Recruitment will improve practice and care is lacking. The issues discussed in this article show that Higher Education Institutions offering nursing courses, whether in England or in other countries, should be critical and reflective regarding the implementation of Values Based Recruitment methods.
We call for a debate regarding the meaning and implications of Values Based Recruitment and further research regarding its validity and effectiveness.
To examine the personal domains multiple mini interviews (MMIs) are being designed to assess, explore how they were determined and contextualise such domains in current and future healthcare student selection processes
A systematic review of empirical research reporting on MMI model design was conducted from database inception to November 2017.
Twelve electronic bibliographic databases.
Evidence was extracted from original studies, and integrated in a narrative synthesis guided by the PRISMA statement for reporting systematic reviews. Personal domains were clustered into themes using a modified Delphi technique.
A total of 584 articles were screened. 65 unique studies (80 articles) matched our inclusion criteria of which seven were conducted within nursing/midwifery faculties. Six in 10 studies featured applicants to medical school. Across selection processes, we identified 32 personal domains assessed by MMIs, the most frequent being: communication skills (84%), teamwork/collaboration (70%), and ethical/moral judgement (65%). Domains capturing ability to cope with stressful situations (14%), make decisions (14%), and resolve conflict in the workplace (13%) featured in fewer than ten studies overall. Intra- and inter-disciplinary inconsistencies in domain profiles were noted, as well as differences by entry level. MMIs deployed in nursing and midwifery assessed compassion and decision-making more frequently than in all other disciplines. Own programme philosophy and professional body guidance were most frequently cited (~50%) as sources for personal domains; a blueprinting process was reported in only 8% of studies.
Nursing, midwifery and allied healthcare professionals should develop their theoretical frameworks for MMIs to ensure they are evidence-based and fit-for-purpose. We suggest a re-evaluation of domain priorities to ensure that students who are selected, not only have the capacity to offer the highest standards of care provision, but are able to maintain these standards when facing clinical practice and organisational pressures.
To explore how adult, child, mental health nursing and midwifery students describe their ?values journey? after completing their second year following exposure to the clinical practice environment.
Where student nurses and midwives are selected using multiple mini interviews, in a values?based recruitment process, the conservancy and or development of their personal values remains unclear.
A hermeneutic, cross?professional longitudinal study was commenced at one university in England in 2016 with data collection points at the end of years one (DC1), two (DC2) and three (DC3). From the 42 participants recruited in year one, 28 went on to participate in data collection at DC2 (3 adult, 6 child, 3 mental health nurses and 16 midwifery students).
Four semi?structured focus groups were conducted. Data analysis incorporated inductive and deductive approaches in a hybrid synthesis.
Participants did not feel their values had changed fundamentally since year one. However, the prioritization of their values and how they were ?put into practice? had changed. Key themes identified were: ?changed sense of self as a healthcare practitioner?; ?influences on values in practice? and ?reflection on values.?
Reframing of personal values is an integral part of learning across clinical and academic settings. Critical reflective practice should be integrated into pre?registration health education programmes to support student nurses and midwives sustain their learning around values; to maintain ?good? values in the face of observed ?bad? values.
In England, a Values Based Recruitment (VBR) policy intends to ensure that healthcare students? individual values align with the values of the National Health Service (NHS) Constitution. However, students? values may become compromised with increased clinical experience, due to, for instance, distress, negative role models and hidden curricula.
To explore potential differences in values between first, second, and third year students of adult nursing, in order to theorise whether and how such students? values may change over the duration of their programme, upon exposure to clinical practice environments.
1. To develop an instrument (Situational Judgement Test, SJT) that assesses students? congruence with the NHS Constitution values, and whether these are prioritised.
2. To establish whether the values (assessed using the SJT) of students with differing levels of experience (years one, two, and three ? particularly clinical practice experience) vary.
3. To generate insights into the considerations and reflections that students have regarding SJT items, and determine whether these vary between the different year groups.
4. To verify and gain a deeper understanding of these findings in the context of students? (practice) learning, as well as input for recommendations, through adult nursing Practice Liaison Tutors within the university.
This research was granted a Favourable Ethical Opinion by the University of Surrey Ethics Committee. An SJT was developed (objective 1), and reliability and validity were determined with a pilot sample of 47 volunteers. Subsequently, first (n=13), second (n=15) and third (n=9) year students (total N=37) completed the SJT and participated in discussion sessions (objectives 2 and 3). Analysis took place using inferential statistics and thematic methods. Afterwards, six tutors were presented with the findings and interviewed (objective 4).
SJT scores were highest in year one and lowest in year three (significant difference between first and third year group, F=7.28, p=.002). First year students expressed idealism. Second and third year students, however, experienced organisational hierarchy and difficulty speaking up against poor practice on their placements, at times de-prioritising the NHS Constitution values in response. Tutors could relate to these findings and suggested strategies to support students.
Despite the VBR policy, students? congruence with the NHS Constitution values may become compromised with increased clinical experience. Recommendations are made for education and placement organisations to prepare students for clinical practice, address hierarchy, and provide a safe and ethical learning environment.
Objectives: To examine the predictive validity of MMIs using end of programme clinical and academic performance indicators of pre-registration adult, child, and
mental health nursing and midwifery students.
Design and setting: A cross-sectional cohort study at one university in the United Kingdom.
Participants: A non-probability consecutive sampling strategy whereby all applicants to the September 2015 pre-registration adult, child, mental health nursing and
midwifery programmes were invited to participate. Of the 354 students who commenced year one, 225 (64%) completed their three-year programme and agreed to
take part (adult 120, child 32, mental health nursing 30 and midwifery 43).
Methods: All applicants were interviewed using MMIs with six and seven station, four-minute models deployed in nursing and midwifery student selection respectively.
Associations between MMI scores and the cross-discipline programme performance indicators available for each student at this university at the end of
year three: clinical practice (assessed by mentors) and academic attainment (dissertation mark) were explored using multiple linear regression adjusting for applicant
age, academic entry level, discipline and number of MMI stations.
Results: In the adjusted models, students with higher admissions MMI score (at six and seven stations) performed better in clinical practice (p academic attainment (p = 0.122) at the end of their three-year programme.
Conclusion: These findings provide the first report of the predictive validity of MMIs for performance in clinical practice using six and seven station models in nursing
and midwifery programmes. Further evidence is required from both clinical and academic perspectives from larger, multi-site evaluations.
Callwood, A., Jeevaratnam, K., Kotronoulas, G., Schneider, A., Lewis, L., Devi Nadarajah, 2018. V. Personal domains assessed in multiple mini interviews (MMIs) for healthcare student selection: A narrative synthesis systematic review. Nurse Edu Today Jan 31; 64:56-64 doi:10.1016/j.net.2018.01.016
Callwood, A., Cooke, D., Bolger, S., Lemanska, A., Allan H. 2018. The reliability and validity of multiple mini interviews (MMIs) in values based recruitment to nursing, midwifery and paramedic practice programmes: Findings from an evaluation study. Int J Nurs Stud Jan, 77. 138-144 doi:10.1016/j.ijnstu.2017.10.003
Callwood, A., Bolger, S., Allan, H.2018.Exploring the ‘values journey’ of student nurses who have been recruited using values-based approaches. J Adv Nurs. 00:1-11 doi: 10.1111/jan.13514
Groothuizen, H., Callwood, A., Gallagher, A. 2017. What is the Value of Values Based Recruitment for Higher Education Healthcare Programmes? J of Adv Nurs.. 00:1-10 doi: 10.1111/jan.13512
Callwood, A., Cooke D., Allan H. 2016. Value-based recruitment in midwifery: do the values align with what women say is important to them? J of Adv Nurs. 00(0), 000–000. doi: 10.1111/jan.13038
Callwood, A. (2015) Developing and piloting the multiple mini interview in student midwife selection. PhD thesis, University of Surrey
Callwood A., Cooke D., Allan, H. (2014) Developing and piloting the multiple mini interview in pre-registration student midwife selection in a UK setting. Nurse Education Today 34 (12), pp.1450-1454.
Callwood A. (2014) National Values-Based Recruitment Framework: a case study using MMIs at the University of Surrey. Health Education England. Available at: http://hee.nhs.uk/work-programmes/values-based-recruitment/national-vbr-framework.
Callwood A., Allan H., Courtenay M. (2012) Are current recruitment strategies for pre-registration student nurse and student midwife selection 'fit for purpose' from a UK perspective? Introducing the Multiple Mini Interview. Nurse Education Today (32), pp.835-837.
Callwood A., Thomas J. (2000) National Sentinel Caesarean Section Audit BJM vol. 8 issue 6.
‘Optimising Admissions Conference’, May 2017 organised by Cambridge University Admissions, Royal College of Physicians, London
Royal College of Nursing International Research Conference, May 2017. Oral presentation: Exploring the ‘values journey’ of student nurses who have been recruited using values-based approaches.
European Midwives Association Education Conference December, 2016. Oral presentation: What is the reliability and predictive validity of multiple mini interviews; first data from two midwifery cohorts’.
Health Education England Conference January 2015. Oral presentation: Values-Based Recruitment in Practice: a Case Study from the University of Surrey.
Health Education Wessex Annual Conference June 2014. Oral presentation: 'Introducing multiple mini interviews: a user perspective'.
The Royal College of Midwives Annual Conference 2013. Oral presentation: 'Developing and piloting multiple mini interviews in pre-registration student midwife selection, a mixed-methods case study'.
European Midwives Association Education Conference, Maastricht, 2013. Oral presentation: What is the acceptability of multple mini interviews: interviewer and applicant perspectives.
Poster presentation at the Nottingham International Conference for Education and Research in Midwifery 2012.