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Nursing and Allied Health: Cinahl Videos and Search Tips

Online Learning


Why search CINAHL Complete with full-text


  • Definitive research tool for nursing & allied health professionals
  • Indexes over 5,400 journals
  • Includes specialties as: speech and language pathology, nutrition, general health and medicine
  • Contains evidence-based care sheets
  • Includes quick lessons providing overviews of diseases and conditions
  • Includes full-text patient education handouts

Video Training



Video of how to search CINAHL




  • Use AND with another term to narrow your search
  • Use OR with synonyms to expand your search
  • Use MeSH headings and key words
  • Filter with the subheadings menu or add additional search queries to obtain fewer results
  • Add the term nurs* to limit your results to articles that mention nursing


Not enough citations?


  • Brainstorm for synonyms of the concept term
  • Perform a background search in a medical dictionary or encyclopedia
  • Check the spelling of your search term


Search mages

NSU Library Home Page:




Database Directory                                                                                                


  • Open the Database Directory
  • Click on "Nursing and Allied Health". 


Database searching is both an art and a science. 


You may try several methods before you develop a method that is right for you. These databases contain articles appropriate for Nursing & Allied Health. 

  • CINAHL Complete with Full-Text
  • Proquest Nursing & Allied Health Premium
  • PubMed
  • OVID
  • SAGE Journals
  • Wiley Journals
  • Science Direct
  • AltHealthWatch
  • PsychInfo  (Psychiatric Nursing and Drug Treatment)
  • Lexis UNI (Medical Law or Legal articles)
  • Academic Search Complete (Business, Insurance and other topics related to Healthcare and Healthcare Mgt.)


Full-Text Finder


  • Full Text Finder is located in a large purple box at the top of the Watson Library page
  • Use the Full Text Finder feature on the library home page to search specific journal titles


  • CINAHL contains 5,400 journals
  • Many articles within the CINAHL Complete database are full text. 
  • Bibliographic records that contain abstracts only (not full text) can be requested through  Nursing Interlibrary Loan


The Header  Bar


  • New Search (To begin a new search)
  • CINAHL Journal Publisher List
  • CINAHL Subject Headings (based on MeSH)
  • Evidence Based Care Sheets (Care Plans)
  • Quick Lessons (Topical Overviews)


The Search Bar: Location and Function


  • The SEARCH BAR is usually at the top of the search page
  • If you place a term in the search bar and click search, the CINAHL Headings will appear (similar to MeSH headings)
  • You may also search a specific field such as Author or Title.
  • 20 fields are available and correspond to fields in PubMed


Filters are also known as limiters


  • FILTERS (limiters) are located on the left side of the results page
  • Filters are also located on the Advanced Search page (link is under date slider bar)
  • Each database has a slightly different layout for other post search features.


(slide 4

Parts of the Database Record


  • Title
  • Author
  • Bibliographic Information
  • Abstract
  • CINAHL / MeSH Subject Headings*


Design your search query


  • Patient population:  Pediatric or child or children or childhood
  • Ages:  0 years  - 18 years
  • Infants: Yes / No ?
  • Problem:  Obesity, Diabetes
  • Treatment or Therapy:: Diet OR Diet Therapy
  • US or Worldwide
  • Language?

Enter primary terms

  • Enter the primary term: obesity.  Click search.  This will bring up the subject heading menu.
  • CINAHL headings are much like MeSH headings in PubMed
  • This is a very defined method of searching and your results will be very focused (targeted). 
  • Not like Google.  Google returns articles based on relevancy ranking.  CINAHL returns articles with focused subject headings.

(slide 5)


Sample search:  Obesity / Pediatric / Diabetes / Peer Reviewed / Last 5 years


  • The most current journal year is normally under embargo.  Embargo means it is not yet available in the databases.  Many instructors and professors are not aware of embargo rules.
  • Limit your date range to the last 6 years.
  • Limit your date range to Peer Reviewed journals only.
  • You may limit your publication type to academic journals as opposed to nursing magazines or nursing newsletters.




  • Click on Major Topic and the subheadings menu appears (blue)
  • Select appropriate subheadings or click search

(slide 6)


In the above slide, we selected pediatric obesity AND we marked the boxes for Diet Therapy/DT and Nursing/NU. Then we mark majorheadings and click the green search button.


  • Before applying all filters (or limiters), we test our search using only the date filter.
  • Move the date slider bar to 2015 (or 6 years prior to the current date. The current year is under embargo.
  • Under the date slider bar is a link to the advanced search filters
  • These are the minimum filters:  References available, ENGLISH, Peer Reviewed, Apply related words (set by default), apply equivalent subjects, Geography: US, Language: English, search within the full text of articles, peer reviewed
  • Applying too many filters may produce too few results. 
  • We can add most filters later. The exception is the Peer Review Filter


(slide 7)


My personal search preference is to use the DATE FILTER after seeing the search results and the number of results retrieved.


(slide 8)


Search History


  • Open Search History and combine terms before reviewing results
  • Search each term individually.  The database saves your queries in SEARCH  HISTORY


Combine your terms with AND, OR, NOT


  • Each Query is numbered (S1, S2, S3...etc.)
  • Combine your searches with AND, OR, OR NOT (Boolean Operators)
  • AND - finds terms present in both articles (intersection)
  • OR - Finds terms in either article
  • NOT - Eliminates articles containing specific terms such as (clinical trials, randomized control trials, Cochrane, Study, etc.)  There is no check box for NOT. 
  • After combining terms, view your results.

View search results

  • Show the most recent records first.

(slide 9)

Create a special account under your name

  • Click on folder; Click on sign in from the purple bar on the results page.
  • Create your CINAHL special account and sign in. You are able to save searches, create alerts and save articles to your folders.
  • Your account is active for 9 months; then all data is purged
  • If you are working on a special project or thesis, you must download all articles from your folder and export all citations to Mendeley Citation Manager or Rayyan before the account expires.

Create a customized folder

  • Create a  folder
  • Name the folder: Pediatric Obesity / Diet Therapy
  • Articles will be saved until you delete them
  • Select and email multiple articles with citations to yourself in one step
  • Prevents losing your work if you close the browser accidentally or use the browser back button instead of navigating within CINAHL.

(slide 10)

Organization:  Stay Organized

  • Most students have several Nursing or Allied Health courses.  Each class has research assignments. Organize your research by folder.
  • Sign in to your CINAHL Special Account
  • Create folder / Name folder / SAVE folder
  • Go to your RESULT SET using the button to the right of the NSU Logo in CINAHL Complete
  • Select articles and click on the folder to the right of the article.  Your newest folder will be at the bottom of the list: SELECT FOLDER
  • The folder icon changes from blue to gold

(slide 11)

Second method: Returning to your search history and search results

  • Click New Search
  • Click Search History
  • Click View Results

(slide 12)

Save articles one by one or in 1 Step?

  • Place your results into the saved folder one by one. Select folder and click the blue folder icon.
  • Set page results to 50 (Page Options)
  • Share Add to Folder (Results 1-50)
  • More than 50? Go to page 2 and repeat

(slide 13)

Files can be put into your folder one-by-one or in a batch. (see above)

(slide 14)

You may view individual records by clicking on the title and or/ clicking on the citation within the title view.

(slide 15)

The right TOOLS make your research easier

  • Cite Link:  Use the APA Citation format within Nursing and Allied health. Select the APA Citation and copy-paste into a word document or an Interlibrary Loan white space for further parcing..
  • APA Citation LibGuide shows examples of journal and non-journal citations.
  • Cite an interview, a nursing standard or a web page for your report. 

(slide 16)

Listening to an article and reading the transcript

Other options include listening to the article.  You might try listen to an article while preparing dinner or exercising.  There is a table of contents along with the article transcript.  The transcript shows an outline and major talking points within the article.

(slide 17)

Table of Contents

  • Table of Contents is not available for all articles
  • Use the Jump Links to access specific points within the article, such as the conclusiom. 
  • This is  great for note taking.

(slide 18)

Other Post Search Options

  • email the article to yourself
  • share the article / articles with your project team.
  • In the folder view, Click on the folder; Click on articles
  • Select articles to share with your team mates
  • Email to the team: Separate email addresses with a comma and add a subject line.
  • Email the APA Citation with the articles (1 step)

(slide 19)

See the other options within the red box (below).

(slide 20)

Inter Library Loan:  ILL

  • Some articles are available in full text
  • Use the Nursing ILL Link from the main ILL page for articles that are not full text. 
  • Ms. Rufty receives and fills articles requested within 1-3 business days
  • If you request an article after hours, it is processed the next business day if the day unless it is an Official University Holiday. 
  • If you request the article after the library closes at 12:00 on Friday, the request will be processed on Monday.

(slide 21)

(slide 22)

Take an online Webex class or schedule a research consultation?  If you have further questions, please contact your nursing or medical librarian to schedule a WebEx research consultation online or sign up for a WebEx online class:  See: Searching Peer Reviewed Literature in LibGuide - Training tab.

Thank you!

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