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

Understanding the Relationship Between the Neurologic Pupil Index and Constriction Velocity Values.
Shoyombo I, Aiyagari V, Stutzman SE, Atem F, Hill M, Figueroa SA, Miller C, Howard A, Olson DM Sci Rep 2018 May 8 1 6992
Establishing Normative Data for Pupillometer Assessment in Neuroscience Intensive Care: The "END-PANIC" Registry.
Olson DM, Stutzman SE, Atem F, Kincaide JD, Ho TT, Carlisle BA, Aiyagari V J Neurosci Nurs 2017 Aug 49 4 251-254
High Variance in Pupillary Examination Findings Among Postanesthesia Care Unit Nurses.
Omburo L, Stutzman S, Supnet C, Choate M, Olson DM J. Perianesth. Nurs. 2017 Jun 32 3 219-224
Intracranial Pressure Values Are Highly Variable After Cerebral Spinal Fluid Drainage.
Rogers M, Stutzman SE, Atem FD, Sengupta S, Welch B, Olson DM J Neurosci Nurs 2017 Apr 49 2 85-89
Interrater Reliability of Pupillary Assessments.
Olson DM, Stutzman S, Saju C, Wilson M, Zhao W, Aiyagari V Neurocrit Care 2015 Sep
Strategies used by hospitals to improve speed of tissue-type plasminogen activator treatment in acute ischemic stroke.
Xian Y, Smith EE, Zhao X, Peterson ED, Olson DM, Hernandez AF, Bhatt DL, Saver JL, Schwamm LH, Fonarow GC Stroke 2014 May 45 5 1387-95
Nursing collaboration: a key element in debunking neurocritical care myths.
Olson DM, Figueroa SA Curr Opin Crit Care 2014 Feb
Sex differences in quality of life after ischemic stroke.
Bushnell CD, Reeves MJ, Zhao X, Pan W, Prvu-Bettger J, Zimmer L, Olson D, Peterson E Neurology 2014 Feb
Predictors of extraventricular drain-associated bacterial ventriculitis.
Williamson RA, Phillips-Bute BG, McDonagh DL, Gray MC, Zomorodi AR, Olson DM, Britz GW, Laskowitz DT, James ML J Crit Care 2014 Feb 29 1 77-82
Measuring and Monitoring ICP in Neurocritical Care: Results from a National Practice Survey.
Olson DM, Batjer HH, Abdulkadir K, Hall CE Neurocrit Care 2014 Feb 20 1 15-20


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)