Meet the Researchers

Brendan Martin, PhD, MA

Brendan Martin

Brendan joined the Research Department in May 2018. He is an experienced researcher with more than 15 years in quantitative modeling and consulting, and over 60 peer-reviewed publications. As principal investigator, Brendan recently spearheaded NCSBN’s longitudinal examination of prelicensure education in the U.S. entitled, Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on Nursing Education: A National Study of Prelicensure RN Programs. Brendan also led additional projects focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. nursing workforce and executive orders lifting restrictions on Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.

Recent studies published include “Assessing the Impact of the COVID‑19 Pandemic on Nursing Education: A National Study of Prelicensure RN Programs” (JNR, 2023), “Examining the Impact of the COVID‑19 Pandemic on Burnout and Stress Among U.S. Nurses” (JNR, 2023), and “Evaluating the Impact of Executive Orders Lifting Restrictions on Advanced Practice Registered Nurses During the COVID‑19 Pandemic” (JNR, 2023).

Brendan also teaches the Fundamentals of Research course in NCSBN’s International Center for Regulatory Scholarship (ICRS) program.

Charlie O'Hara, PhD, MA


Charlie joined the Research Department in November 2022. Charlie received a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Southern California and taught computational linguistics at the University of Michigan before coming to NCSBN. His research interests involve using natural language processing techniques to analyze unstructured data, and the advantages and limitations of artificial intelligence and large language model technology for nursing regulation. Charlie’s recent work has included using natural language processing methodologies to better characterize nurses’ experiences with burnout during the pandemic. He has applied similar techniques to develop understanding of nurses’ opinions regarding licensure compacts, and to develop better survey questionnaires.

Recent publications include “Examining the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Burnout and Stress Among U.S. Nurses” (JNR, 2023).

Elizabeth Zhong, PhD, MEd


Elizabeth has been a member of the Research Department since 2005. Elizabeth earned a PhD and an MEd in Research Methodology from Loyola University of Chicago. Her focus for the past few years has been on nurse discipline and regulation. By analyzing data from different national nursing databases, Elizabeth hopes to develop deeper insight into what causes nursing practice errors, and how the incidence of such errors can be reduced.

Elizabeth has been leading a series of studies on at-risk nurses and developing models to identify risk factors for recidivism that will provide evidence for boards of nursing (BON) to use for developing more efficient remediation and discipline in nursing regulation. Meanwhile, Elizabeth has been working closely with the NCSBN Compact team and BONs to conduct state surveys to gather nurses’ opinions about the current Compact models. The survey findings have been used to facilitate BON’s Compact legislative efforts.

Elizabeth has developed the international version of the Fundamentals of Research course in NCSBN’s ICRS program.

Nicole K. Ozturk, PhD, MA


Nicole joined the Research Department in January 2020. She is a project manager professional and earned a Ph.D. in Education Psychology (Psychometrics) from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Nicole’s primary research interests include prelicensure education and workforce issues within the context of nursing regulation. She recently examined how the pandemic influenced the adoption of virtual clinical simulation in prelicensure practical nursing programs. Other recent works include Examining the Global Nursing Regulatory Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Assessing the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Nursing Education: A National Study of Prelicensure RN Programs, A Preliminary Examination of Healthcare Facilities’ Nurse Staffing Strategies to Address COVID-19 Surges, Examining the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Burnout and Stress Among U.S. Nurses, along with the 2022 National Nursing Workforce Study.

Nicole also supports data lifecycles and improves process efficacy within the Departments of Research and Nursing Education and teaches Making Data Analysis Easy Using Python in NCSBN’s ICRS program.

Richard Smiley, MS, MA


Richard has been a member of the Research Department for over 20 years. He earned a Master of Science in Statistics from the University of Chicago and a Master of Arts in Demography from Georgetown University. One of Richard’s most notable research contributions is the landmark NCSBN National Simulation Study which explored the role and outcomes of simulation in prelicensure clinical nursing education. Currently, Richard is leading the following national studies: National Nursing Workforce Survey and NCSBN’s Substance Use Disorder Monitoring Programs Study.

Richard teaches a Questionnaire Design course in NCSBN's ICRS Program.

Michaela Reid


Michaela joined the Research Department in April 2023. Michaela received a dual degree in Political Science and Interdisciplinary Health from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) before joining NCSBN. She worked as a research assistant at UIUC and produced an in-depth literature review on the impacts of increased green space on epigenetic outcomes, physical and psychological health outcomes, environmental conditions, and levels of social and political participation. Michaela supports the Research Department by providing technical, logistical, and research support. She works closely with each study principal investigator and conducts comprehensive literature reviews to support project development.