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NUR 4880 - Critical Reasoning in Complex Health Care Systems: NUR 4880 Tips

This guide will help you through the process of doing your literature review, with particular emphasis on searching for and selecting appropriate relevant evidence.

Online appointments available

Not sure how to begin your search or having trouble narrowing your results?? 

Use the "Schedule Appointment" button on the beneath the Wright State University icon (right side of this page) set up a Webex appointment with me.

If you prefer to work with me by email, just send me a message describing where and how you have searched and the problems you are running into. I usually respond to email the same day.  If you do not receive a response after 24 hours, please try again.  It helps if you include the course number in the subject line of your email.

I can help you more effectively if you can give me at least a preliminary idea of the following when you ask me for help with your search:

1) the health problem or issue you have chosen

2) which building block you have chosen as your focus

3) which sector of the healthcare system you have selected (public or private)

Links to the Article Databases

Examples of Published Literature Reviews

These are examples of full text literature reviews on other topics that have been published in nursing journals. The parts of these articles are NOT necessarily the same as the sections Dr. Eustace requires in the rubric for your systems paper.  They also do NOT use the WHO Framework for Health Systems Strengthening, so your own review will have major differences. However, some of the sections may give you ideas about how to structure some of the parts of your review.

Evidence Evaluation Table - Template and Sample

APA Style

Healthy People 2030 & WHO Health Systems Framework

Possible PubMed and CINAHL Search Terms for WHO System Building Blocks

Using the exact phrase or keyword for the WHO Systems Framework building block may not be very effective.  You may have better luck using MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) in PubMed or CINAHL Subject Headings in CINAHL (when available) because they will allow you to focus on the building block as a an actual in the article. The subject headings do not usually match the name of the building block exactly, but they are likely to get more relevant results.

I have listed search terms for these building blocks below.  You can copy and paste them into your search on your health topic or issue.

Suggested PubMed search terms for building blocks:

  • leadership or governance
  • "Healthcare Financing"[Mesh]
  • "Health Personnel"[Mesh]   (another way to say health workforce; will get more results)
  • "Delivery of Health Care"[Mesh]  (a way to search for service delivery)
  • "Health Information Systems"[Mesh]


Suggested CINAHL search terms for building blocks:

  • (MH "Leadership") OR (MH "Shared Governance") OR (MH "Clinical Governance") OR "governance"
  • health care financ* or healthcare financ* 
  • MH "Health Personnel+"
  • (MH "Health Care Delivery+")
  • (MH "Health Information Systems+")

CINAHL Searches on the Nurse's Role


Use CINAHL to search for articles from nursing journals.

To look for articles about the nurse's role, do NOT type "nursing role" or "nurse's role".  If you do, you may get very few useful results because that search would only find articles where the author used one of those exact phrases.  Instead, you want to try to limit the results on your topic to articles that have been written by, about, or for nurses. 

Search your HP 2030 topic of interest. Then, in the second search blank, type nurs* in your keyword search. 

If searching for nurs* as a keyword isn't useful, another option is to add "SB nursing" to your search.  This will search for articles only in journals that CINAHL classifies as nursing journals so they are more likely to emphasize the nurse's role.

Note: There are several other ways to get nursing-related articles in CINAHL if you don't get enough useful results.  Please contact Ximena if you have trouble finding what you need.

Literature Review - Help with Searching -Limiting Your Retrievals - CINAHL (Inclusion Criteria)

The easiest way to make sure you are NOT overusing the limits is to run your search FIRST and then use the menu to the LEFT of your search results list to apply the limiters you need.  For this assignment, you will definitely want to use the following limiters:

  • Peer-reviewed
  • Research article - This will get research studies, including original research studies and systematic reviews or meta-analyses.
  • Publication date (year slider)
  • Language - English

Note: The limiters mentioned above should display on the left side of the page.  If not, click "Show more" under the year slider to see the full list of limiters.

About Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and CINAHL Subject Headings

The videos below were developed by Carrie Price at Towson University and EBSCO, respectively, to demonstrate how to browse for subject headings and use them to search PubMed and CINAHL by subjects rather than keywords.  These videos do not use the health system building blocks you are required to use for your assignment, but you can use the same process to browse for the subject headings that correspond to your building block(s).  If you need help with your search, please email .

MeSH: Medical Subject Headings in PubMed (from Towson University)

This video from Health Professions Librarian Carrie Price at Towson University shows how to use Medical Subject Headings in PubMed.  I have set the video to start on the PubMed screen rather than at Towson University's access point. 


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Ximena Chrisagis
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(937) 775-3516

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