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Mrs Sheila Counihan

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Lecturer in Nursing
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies
  • School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
  • Nursing
  • sheila.counihan

Professional biography

I have worked as a nurse/nurse educator for over thirty years and my clinical career has involved caring for people across the lifespan incorporating Mental Health, Learning Disability and Adult/Older Adult care. I qualified in adult and mental health nursing from the Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, Kings College London and obtained my MSc in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, also from Kings College London. The majority of my clinical experience has been in the areas of learning disabilities and mental health; I have also worked with older adults (both community and inpatient) as well as medical and surgical care. I currently work as a lecturer in nursing with the Open University. I hold an NMC approved teaching qualification/Postgraduate Diploma in Academic Practice from City University, London and I am currently studying for a Doctorate in Education at Kings College, London. The focus of my doctoral studies is the use of technology in clinical nursing practice. I have a keen interest in quality within both healthcare and education provision and have previously been a reviewer for the Healthcare Commission (a predecessor to the Care Quality Commission). I have a particular interest in eLearning, eAssessment, the integration of new and emerging technologies with nursing practice and nursing education and I have the lead role in the development of an ePortfolio within the nursing programme.

Research interests

My research interests include: The integration of technology into clinical nursing practice and the impact of technology on student nurses in particular. I am also interested in eAssessment; eLearning; mobile learning and physical health care of vulnerable groups such as people with mental illness, people with learning disabilities and older adults.

For my doctoral dissertation, I am currently undertaking an investigation into the experiences of nursing students in relation to the impact of technology as they engage in the combined process of learning to care for the physical needs of their patients while at the same time they are learning to work with a range of technologies that are integrated into the delivery of care and the assessment and treatment of the patient.

Teaching interests

Within the broad areas of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities I am particularly interested in developing students' knowledge and skills in relation to: the effective use of technology in clinical practice; problem/enquiry-based learning; assessment skills for practice; reflective practice and developing effective communication skills.


Recognising the potential: maximising meaningful learning in practice settings (2010-09-08)
Messenger, Julie; Waights, Verina; McDonagh, Lin; Kenward, Linda; Bottoms, Rosemary; Draper, Janet; Counihan, Sheila and Holland, Lesley
In : Networking in healthcare education (7-9 Sep 2010, Cambridge, UK) (p 156)
Maintaining connectivity and enhancing communication through the use of text messaging in an undergraduate nursing programme (2010)
Counihan, Sheila
In : RCN Joint Education Forums’ Conference and Exhibition. Partners in Practice (21-22 Feb 2010, Blackpool)


The OU is positive about carers

The OU has been awarded Carer Positive ‘established' status by Carers Scotland.

19th July 2018
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