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Nursing - The CINAHL Database: CINAHL

This page provides information about the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, including tutorials and user guides to illustrate how to search.

What is CINAHL?

CINAHL, or the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, is an electronic database in which you can find references to journal articles as well as books and book chapters.  If the full-text is available, you can link to it within the database. CINAHL indexes more than 4,000 health care journals, many of which are peer-reviewed.  Although some coverage goes back as far as 1937, the bulk of the coverage goes back to 1981.

You can search CINAHL by typing in keywords for your main concepts, as you are used to doing in internet search engines.  However, be aware that  performing a subject heading search can often be a more efficient way to find the most relevant results on your topic.  See the video tutorials linked in the next column for  demonstrations.

More CINAHL Help

Navigation

LINK TO SEARCH CINAHL

Video Tutorial: CINAHL - MeSH/Subject Heading Searching from EBSCO Support (length: 3:32)

CINAHL Options to Help Find Articles Likely to Have at Least One Nurse Author

Using these search options in CINAHL do not guarantee that at least one of the authors will be a nurse (unless you are using one of the nurse author limiters), but the articles will at least be nursing-related. 

If you have questions about how to apply these options to your searches, ask the Nursing Librarian.

Disclaimer: These strategies are not recommended if you need to do a comprehensive search of the literature for patient care.

Available Limiters:

  •  First Author is Nurse or Any Author is Nurse  

    • If you are on your results page, choose "Show More" under the year slider then scroll down to check one of these options.

    • This limiter was added in 2009, so it will only retrieve results added to the CINAHL database starting in 2009.  For the most part, this means that the results retrieved by this limiter will have a publication date of 2009 or later.

  • Journal Subset = Nursing

    • If you are on your results page, choose "Show More" under the year slider, then under the Journal Subset menu, select Nursing NOT Core Nursing.  (Core Nursing might narrow your retrievals too much).

    • You can also apply this limiter by including it in one of your search blanks: type in SB Nursing .

Nursing as part of your original search strategy:

  • Subheading "Nursing", if available 

    • This option only works with some CINAHL subject headings.  It does NOT apply to keyword searching.

    • The CINAHL subject heading you are using may or may not include the subheading "Nursing" (/NU) .  If it does, checking that option will help you find articles that the indexers considered to be nursing-related.

  • nurs* as one of your search terms

    • If you add nurs* as one of the terms in your search blanks, the interface will find items that include the word nurse, nurses, or nursing in the title of the article or the journal, in the article abstract, or in the article subject headings.  

    • This is the broadest way to include the concept of nursing in your search so articles retrieved by this method may be less relevant to nursing than articles retrieved by one of the other methods.

Combining the results from these methods

Each of the above methods retrieves different results, so to give yourself a larger single set of results, combine the results from all of these search strategies using OR.

 

Full-Text in CINAHL

When viewing your search results in CINAHL, you will see different links depending on the availability of the full-text:

PDF full text or   HTML full text 

Either of these icons indicate that you can access the full text immediately. 

If you do not see either of the above links, click the Find It  button to see if the library has an electronic copy available elsewhere. If any of the links on the Find It page mention "Full Text" or "Find the Article", you can access the full text using those links.

Interlibrary Loan

If you use the FindIt button and there is no full text, you can request the article for free through interlibrary loan.