Dr. Karen O'Brien Dr. Karen O'Brien Associate Professor
School of Nursing

View CV

Dr. Karen Sheffield O'Brien has varied nursing experience, including medical/surgical, ICU, PACU, and homecare. She is certified as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner. She has taught pediatrics and senior med/surg at SAFSU. Her doctorate dissertation was titled “Nursing Students’ Utilization of Personal Digital Assistants.” After completing her PhD, she accepted a full-time teaching position at UTMB until 2010. She also worked as a Nurse Practitioner at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital until 2014. In 2015, She chose to work as an NP full time, at St. Luke's Sugar Land for about a year, retaining contract faculty positions with TWU, UTMB, and intermittently with Elsevier. She currently works as an ACNP for Memorial Hermann Sugar Land's ICU/IMU and teaches full time for University of St. Thomas in Houston.

Areas of Expertise
Simulation, Critical Care, Health Assessment and Advanced Health Assessment, advanced practice roles and procedures, and learning style assessment.


  • Doctor of Philosophy - Nursing - The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (2008)
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing - The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (2002)
  • Bachelor of Science - Nursing - Stephen F. Austin State University (1993)

Faculty Excellence

Excellence in teaching is at the heart of our mission at the University of St. Thomas.

Each year, the University of St. Thomas honors outstanding faculty who exemplify extraordinary dedication and excellence in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service with the Saint Thomas Aquinas Excellence in Teaching Award, the Saint Edith Stein Excellence in Research Award, the Joseph M. McFadden Excellence in Service Award, and the Teach Online Awards to Spur Transformation (TOAST).

We proudly recognize and celebrate our faculty’s achievements!

learn more about the Faculty Excellence