Karin Olson, RN, PhD

Continuous Professional Educator, Faculty of Nursing


Continuous Professional Educator, Faculty of Nursing




  • PhD (Educational Psychology), University of Alberta (1990)
  • MHSc (Health Promotion), University of Toronto (1981)
  • BScN, University of Alberta (1976)


My research program has two dimensions: clinical research and qualitative methods development. My clinical research is focused on cancer-related fatigue and can be distinguished from others in symptom management by my focus on: fatigue as a stress response, similarities and differences in fatigue in various ill and non-ill populations, the social construction of symptom experience, relationships among fatigue and other symptoms, and the prevention and early detection of fatigue. I have defined fatigue as a marker for the inability to adapt to stressors. In the Edmonton Fatigue Framework, I have proposed that among individuals with cancer the stressors include disease processes and treatments that reduce adaptive capacity. My work on methods development research has examined how local research-related beliefs and values are reflected in research practices such as ethics review procedures and how these variations influence research outcomes. My other methods development research interests include external validity in qualitative research, and the use of structural equation modeling to study symptom clusters.


My clinical teaching is in chronic illness, with a focus on cancer and palliative care. I also teach undergraduate and graduate courses in research methods.


NURS 211 - Statistics and Knowledge Management

An introduction to reading, understanding and interpreting commonly used statistics in published health sciences research. The course provides a hands-on approach to understanding measurement, sampling, and statistical analysis techniques commonly used in health care research. It introduces the concepts of information literacy, health data and big data in electronic datasets and the statistical techniques used to interpret these data in meaningful ways. Credit may be obtained for only one of NURS 211 or 341.

Fall Term 2021

Browse more courses taught by Karin Olson

Scholarly Activities

Research - Canadian Cancer-related Fatigue Guidelines (2nd edition)

20150817 - 20160630

These guidelines provide recommendations for the sceening, assessment, and management of mild, moderate, and severe fatigue experienced by individuals with cancer. 

Canadian Cancer-related Fatigue Guidelines (version 2)


External validity, member checking and knowledge transfer
Author(s): Konradsen H, Kirkvold M, Olson K
Publication Date: 2013
Publication: Advances in Nursing Science
Volume: 36
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: E66-E76

Understanding the meaning of fatigue at the end of life
Author(s): Kirshbaum M, Olson K, Pongthavarnkamol K, Graffigna G
Publication Date: 2013
Publication: Journal of Oncology Nursing
Volume: 17
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 146-153

Understanding the nature of fatigue in patients with cancer: A cross cultural study between Thailand and Canada
Author(s): Pongthavornkamol K, Olson K, Soparatanapaisarn N, Chatchaisucha S, Kamkhon A, Potaros D, Kirshbaum M, Graffigna G
Publication Date: 2012
Publication: Cancer Nursing
Volume: 35
Issue: 5
Page Numbers: E1-E9

Studying the social construction of cancer-related fatigue experience: the heuristic value of ethnoscience
Author(s): Graffigna G, Vegni E, Barelo S, Olson K, Bosio C
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Patient Education and Counseling
Volume: 82
Page Numbers: 402-409