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Ms Sheila Counihan

Profile summary

Professional biography

I have worked as a nurse/nurse educator for almost 40 years and my clinical career has involved caring for people across the lifespan in 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 I hold a MSc in Learning Disabilities (Mental Health), also from Kings College London.

Much of my clinical nursing career has been in the care of  people who have learning disabilities and mental health needs. I have also worked in the care of older adults (both community and inpatient) as well as in 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, a MSc in Educational Research, from Kings College, London and I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I have a strong interest in quality assurance within both healthcare delivery and health education provision and have previously been a reviewer for 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.

I have the lead role in the development of a new, distance education pre-registration Learning Disability nursing (RNLD) programme that the Open University is planning to deliver from Sept 2020, subject to NMC approval.

Research interests

My research interests include: The integration of technology into clinical nursing practice and the impact of technology on student nurses in particular; the physical healthcare of people who have learning disabilities and people who have severe and enduring mental illness and the changing roles of parents with adult children.

For my MSc (Educational Research) dissertation, I undertook an investigation into the experiences of nursing students in relation to the impact of technology. With a distinct focus on understanding how 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)