Dr. Olson began his nursing career in Iowa and obtained his PhD 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 where he 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. In this endeavor, he has published over 250 manuscripts, 16 book chapters, and 150 scientific abstracts. He is the Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Neuroscience Nursing and the co-chair of the international Neurocritical Care Research Network. As an invited lecturer or visiting professor, he has had the pleasure to present his work in 39 US states, 10 countries and 5 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

Distributions and Reference Ranges for Automated Pupillometer Values in Neurocritical Care Patients.
Lussier BL, Stutzman SE, Atem F, Venkatachalam AM, Perera AC, Barnes A, Aiyagari V, Olson DM, J Neurosci Nurs 2019 Dec 51 6 335-340
Agreed-Upon Lies.
Olson DM, J Neurosci Nurs 2019 12 51 6 275
Investigating the association between eye colour and the Neurological Pupil index.
Al-Obaidi S, Atem F, Stutzman SE, Aiyagari V, Olson DM, Aust Crit Care 2019 Nov
Evidence-Based Management of External Ventricular Drains.
Chung DY, Olson DM, John S, Mohamed W, Kumar MA, Thompson BB, Rordorf GA, Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 2019 Nov 19 12 94
Impact of Increased Intracranial Pressure on Pupillometry: A Replication Study.
Al-Obaidi SZ, Atem FD, Stutzman SE, Olson DM, Crit Care Explor 2019 Oct 1 10 e0054
Patient Education: A Comparison of Teaching Strategies for Patients With Brain Neoplasms.
Stuart TA, Stutzman SE, Hicks AD, Olson DM, Clin J Oncol Nurs 2019 10 23 5 E81-E86
The Hospital to Home Transition Following Acute Stroke.
Olson DM, Juengst SB, Nurs. Clin. North Am. 2019 09 54 3 385-397
Electronic interventions aimed at increasing self-worth in mild dementia may not be feasible.
Martinez N, Stutzman SE, Olson DM, J Am Assoc Nurse Pract 2019 Aug
Pupillary Light Reflex Variability as a Predictor of Clinical Outcomes in Subarachnoid Hemorrhage.
Ortega-Perez S, Shoyombo I, Aiyagari V, Atem F, Hill M, Stutzman SE, Olson DM, J Neurosci Nurs 2019 Aug 51 4 171-175
Automated Pupillometry in Neurocritical Care: Research and Practice.
Lussier BL, Olson DM, Aiyagari V, Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 2019 Aug 19 10 71


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

Honors & Awards

  • 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)
  • D-Magazine Excellence in Nursing
    Award for Excellence in Nursing Research (2014)
  • 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 Heart Association (2009)
  • American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (2007)
  • Neurocritical Care Society (2005)
  • American Association of Critical Care Nurses (1990)