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

An observational pilot study of CSF diversion in subarachnoid haemorrhage.
Amato A, Britz GW, James ML, Graffagnino C, Zomorodi AR, Zomorodi ME, Olson DM Nurs Crit Care 2011 Sep-Oct 16 5 252-60
Secondary preventive medication persistence and adherence 1 year after stroke.
Bushnell CD, Olson DM, Zhao X, Pan W, Zimmer LO, Goldstein LB, Alberts MJ, Fagan SC, Fonarow GC, Johnston SC, Kidwell C, Labresh KA, Ovbiagele B, Schwamm L, Peterson ED Neurology 2011 Sep 77 12 1182-90
Are quality improvements in the get with the guidelines: stroke program related to better care or better data documentation?
Reeves MJ, Grau-Sepulveda MV, Fonarow GC, Olson DM, Smith EE, Schwamm LH Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes 2011 Sep 4 5 503-11
Brainstem dysfunction as a predictor of death in the nonneurologically injured.
Luke James ML, Olson DM Crit. Care Med. 2011 Aug 39 8 2012-3
Timeliness of tissue-type plasminogen activator therapy in acute ischemic stroke: patient characteristics, hospital factors, and outcomes associated with door-to-needle times within 60 minutes.
Fonarow GC, Smith EE, Saver JL, Reeves MJ, Bhatt DL, Grau-Sepulveda MV, Olson DM, Hernandez AF, Peterson ED, Schwamm LH Circulation 2011 Feb 123 7 750-8
Continuous and intermittent CSF diversion after subarachnoid hemorrhage: a pilot study.
Kim GS, Amato A, James ML, Britz GW, Zomorodi A, Graffagnino C, Zomorodi M, Olson DM Neurocrit Care 2011 Feb 14 1 68-72
Hospital-level variation in mortality and rehospitalization for medicare beneficiaries with acute ischemic stroke.
Fonarow GC, Smith EE, Reeves MJ, Pan W, Olson D, Hernandez AF, Peterson ED, Schwamm LH Stroke 2011 Jan 42 1 159-66
Similar secondary stroke prevention and medication persistence rates among rural and urban patients.
Rodriguez D, Cox M, Zimmer LO, Olson DM, Goldstein LB, Drew L, Peterson ED, Bushnell CD J Rural Health 2011 27 4 401-8
The evidence base for nursing care and monitoring of patients during therapeutic temperature management.
Olson D, Grissom JL, Dombrowski K Ther Hypothermia Temp Manag 2011 1 4 209-17
Persistence with stroke prevention medications 3 months after hospitalization.
Bushnell CD, Zimmer LO, Pan W, Olson DM, Zhao X, Meteleva T, Schwamm L, Ovbiagele B, Williams L, Labresh KA, Peterson ED Arch. Neurol. 2010 Dec 67 12 1456-63


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)