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Dr. Olson began his nursing career in Iowa and obtained his Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina. He worked as a staff nurse from 1986 to 2018. He was an assistant professor at Duke University until 2012 when he relocated to work at the University of Texas Southwestern and is now the first nurse to be promoted to full Professor.

Dr. Olson’s work is focused on developing a more comprehensive understanding of how nursing care contributes to patient outcomes following acquired brain injury. He is a member of the Southwestern Academy of Teachers, a Fellow of the Neurocritical Care Society, and founding director of the Neuroscience Nursing Research Center. His SCOPUS h-index of 45 builds from over 350 manuscripts, 16 book chapters, 2 books, and 250 scientific abstracts. He is the Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Neuroscience Nursing and the co-chair of the international Curing Coma Campaign. As an invited lecturer or visiting professor, he has had the pleasure to present his work in 40 US states, 11 countries and 6 continents.


Scott Community College (1986), Nursing
Teikyo Marycrest University (1997), Nursing
Graduate School
University of N C-Chapel Hill (2007), Nursing

Research Interest

  • Curing Coma
  • Impact of nursing care on outcomes for neurocritical care patients
  • Intracranial pressure monitoring
  • Research methodology


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Silent Experts.
Olson DM, J Neurosci Nurs 2023 Aug 55 4 111
Exploring Plan of Care Communication With a Multidisciplinary Rounding Plan to Nursing Care Plans.
Perera AC, Joseph S, Marshall JL, Olson DM, J Neurosci Nurs 2023 Apr 55 2 49-53
Pupillary light reflex measured with quantitative pupillometry has low sensitivity and high specificity for predicting neuroworsening after traumatic brain injury.
Trent T, Vashisht A, Novakovic S, Kanter G, Nairon E, Lark A, Tucker A, Reddy V, McCreary M, Stutzman SE, Olson DM, J Am Assoc Nurse Pract 2023 Feb 35 2 130-134
Incidence of Poststroke Epilepsy: An Executive Summary.
Dave H, Omburo L, Collins A, Xian Y, Olson DM, J Neurosci Nurs 2022 Dec 54 6 237-239
The Best and Worst of Nursing.
Olson DM, J Neurosci Nurs 2022 Oct
Applying 3-Dimensional Printing and Modeling for Preoperative Reconstruction and Instrumentation Placement Planning in Complex Deformity Surgery.
Caruso JP, Kafka BR, Traylor JI, Wilson RA, El Ahmadieh T, Nassif RB, Caldwell C, Palmisciano P, Al Tamimi M, Olson DM, Dahdaleh NS, Bagley CA, Aoun SG, Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown) 2022 Sep
A Case Series of Clinical Limitations to the Clinical Course of Neurogenic Fever.
Chorostecki JR, Schneider NJ, Stutzman SE, Olson DM, Ther Hypothermia Temp Manag 2022 Sep
Feasibility and efficacy of a nurse practitioner-and pharmacist-led hypertension clinic.
Speed S, Schneider N, Stutzman SE, Olson DM, Higbea A, J Am Assoc Nurse Pract 2022 Aug
We Are in This Together.
Nichols L, Olson DM, J Neurosci Nurs 2022 08 54 4 144-145
A differential of the left eye and right eye neurological pupil index is associated with discharge modified Rankin scores in neurologically injured patients.
Privitera CM, Neerukonda SV, Aiyagari V, Yokobori S, Puccio AM, Schneider NJ, Stutzman SE, Olson DM, BMC Neurol 2022 Jul 22 1 273


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

Honors & Awards

  • D-Magazine Excellence in Nursing
    Award for Excellence in Nursing Research (2021)
  • Excellence in Nursing Award
    D-Magazine. Dallas TX. (2021)
  • The World Federation of Critical Care Nurses 2020 Best Paper Award
    "Lack of standardization in determination of intracranial pressure.” Published in CONNECT: The World of Critical Care Nursing. (2020)
  • Visiting Professor
    Queensland University of Technology in Kelvin Grove Australia (2019)
  • Presidential Citation
    Neurocritical Care Society (2018)
  • Southwestern Academy of Teachers
  • Suzanne Smith Mentoring Award
    London, England (2016)
  • Fellow, Neurocritical Care Society
  • Presidential Citation
    Award for recognition from the Neurocritical Care Society (2013)
  • North Carolina Great 100
    Recognition for top 100 nurses in N.C. (2011)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Association of Critical Care Nurses (1990)
  • American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (2007)
  • American Heart Association (2009)
  • International Association of Nurse Editors (2015)
  • Neurocritical Care Society (2005)
  • Sigma Theta Tau (1997)
  • Society of Critical Care Medicine (2002)