You are here

  1. Home
  2. Mrs Claire Harris

Mrs Claire Harris


Profile summary

Web links

Professional biography

I am a Registered Mental Health Nurse and Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing. I have a BA (Hons) Philosophy, DipHE RNMH, PGDip (Health and Social Care Educator) and MA in Education by Negotiated Learning (Distinction). I partially completed a Professional Doctorate earlier in my career and intend to recommence Doctoral Studies in due course.

I have 30 years of clinical, teaching and research experience in mental health practice. My clinical experiences have been within acute adult psychiatric admissions wards, intensive recovery services for people with severe mental illness, and within a specialist psychological trauma treatment service. I moved into Higher Education as a Senior Lecturer in Mental Health in 2009, and after 10 years working in nurse education within brick Universities, joined the OU in Jan 2020 as a Staff Tutor before moving to the central academic team in 2022. 

I have previously been co-lead for a large service user and carer group within HE, clinical supervisor for a campus University student Mental Health nurse team, a School Governor in  a large 11-16 Academy, Strengths-based coach,  and I continue to work as a clinical supervisor in palliative care.

My research and teaching interests include: liminality, professional socialisation, transition and threshold concepts in nurse education, and I closely follow developments in psychological trauma therapy, psychosis, complex grief and the impact of the self in therapeutic work.

Current work includes:  

  • Academic Conduct Officer for the Faculty
  • Programme Lead for the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship
  • Member of Athena Swan project team
  • Exploring how language is used in healthcare  in collaboration with academic colleagues in Languages and Applied Linguistics (LAL). 
  • Academic Lead for Open Learn film and animation project- Communication in End Of Life (co-production with UK, Netherlands and Denmark)
  • Output from national survey "Staff experiences of death, the role of bereavement policies in higher education" 

Since joining the OU I have drawn on my experience both as a mental health practitioner and nurse educator to author on modules in Nursing, HSC, ACP and Social Work:

  • KYN326-9 (Nursing)
  • K123 (Social Work/Social Care)
  • K243 (Health and Social Care/Open)
  • KXY807 (Advanced Clinical Practice)
  • KXY234 (Nursing Associate)



Research interests

Liminality, professional socialisation, transition and threshold concepts in  nurse education.

Interprofessional learning and working in health and social care

Psychological trauma and the evidence base for psychotherapy

Grief and recovery

Supporting staff working with loss, death and dying

Member of Open Thanatology Research Group

Member of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK (MHNAUK)

Teaching interests

Psychological therapies

Trauma and recovery

Loss and grief

Communication skills, therapeutic relationships

Complex mental health 

Interprofessional learning

Leadership and clinical decision making

Clinical supervision



Impact and engagement


Evans C A & Kevern P (2015) Liminality in preregistration mental health nurse education: A review of the literature, Nurse Education in Practice, Volume 15, Issue 1, Pages 1-6

Harris C A (2021) “Finding Comfort and Truth in Une Mort Tres Douce” in Narratives of Covid: Loss, Dying, Death and Grief during Covid 19, edited by Erica Borgstrom and Sharon Mallon 

Harris C A and Murcott W (2023) A disorder- or just me? Life with Bipolar, Open Learn

Borgstrom, E., Harris, C. A., Kerry, J., and Mallon. S. (2023) Bereavement during employment in Higher Education (UK): 2023 Survey Report. Milton Keynes: The Open University.

Borgstrom, E., Harris, C. A., Kerry, J., and Mallon. S. (2023) Compassion and care: staff experiences of death, the role of bereavement policies in higher education , Open Learn

Rienties B, Calo F, Corcoran S, Chandler K, FitzGerald E, Haslam D, Harris C.A,  Perryman L, Sargent J, Suttle M.D, Wahga A. (2023) How and with whom do educators learn in an online professional development microcredential, Social Sciences & Humanities Open, Vol 8, Issue 1.



Academic Journals:

Death Studies



Academic Consultant 

BBC Ideas "What is Therapy?"

BBC Connect- The Evolution of Therapy


How and with whom do educators learn in an online professional development microcredential (2023-07-14)
Rienties, Bart; Calò, Francesca; Corcoran, Suz; Chandler, Kathy; FitzGerald, Elizabeth; Haslam, Daniel; Harris, Claire A.; Perryman, Leigh-Anne; Sargent, Julia; Suttle, Martin and Wahga, Aqueel
Social Sciences and Humanities Open, 8, Article 100626(1)

Bereavement during employment in Higher Education (UK): 2023 Survey Report (2023-05-05)
Borgstrom, Erica; Harris, Claire A.; Jones, Kerry and Mallon, Sharon
The Open University, Milton Keynes.