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

Exploring the impact of augmenting sedation assessment with physiologic monitors.
Olson DM, Zomorodi MG, James ML, Cox CE, Moretti EW, Riemen KE, Graffagnino C Aust Crit Care 2013 Oct
Continuous cerebral spinal fluid drainage associated with complications in patients admitted with subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Olson DM, Zomorodi M, Britz GW, Zomorodi AR, Amato A, Graffagnino C J. Neurosurg. 2013 Oct 119 4 974-80
Effects of nursing interventions on intracranial pressure.
Olson DM, McNett MM, Lewis LS, Riemen KE, Bautista C Am. J. Crit. Care 2013 Sep 22 5 431-8
Significant practice pattern variations associated with intracranial pressure monitoring.
Olson DM, Lewis LS, Bader MK, Bautista C, Malloy R, Riemen KE, McNett MM J Neurosci Nurs 2013 Aug 45 4 186-93
Planning for study design and analysis for point-of-care research teams: does size matter?
Olson DM, Zhao Y AACN Adv Crit Care 2013 Jul-Sep 24 3 333-6
Time to treatment with intravenous tissue plasminogen activator and outcome from acute ischemic stroke.
Saver JL, Fonarow GC, Smith EE, Reeves MJ, Grau-Sepulveda MV, Pan W, Olson DM, Hernandez AF, Peterson ED, Schwamm LH JAMA 2013 Jun 309 23 2480-8
Evidence to Guide Nursing Interventions for Critically Ill Neurologically Impaired Patients With ICP Monitoring.
McNett MM, Olson DM J Neurosci Nurs 2013 Jun 45 3 120-3
Targeting telestroke: benchmarking time performance in telestroke consultations.
Yang JP, Wu TC, Tegeler C, Xian Y, Olson DM, Kolls BJ J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 2013 May 22 4 470-5
Planning for Study Design and Analysis for Point-of-Care Research Teams: Measurement.
Zhao Y, Olson DM AACN Adv Crit Care 2013 Apr-Jun 24 2 219-22
Insurance Status and Outcome after Intracerebral Hemorrhage: Findings from Get with The Guidelines-Stroke.
James ML, Grau-Sepulveda MV, Olson DM, Smith EE, Hernandez AF, Peterson ED, Schwamm LH, Bhatt DL, Fonarow GC J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 2013 Mar


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)