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Nursing and Allied Health: Searching CINAHL

Online Learning
Use the Cumulative Index for Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL) database


  • Go to the NSU Libraries Home page,
  • Select Database Directory.
  • Select Nursing and Allied Health. 
  • CINAHL will be within the Nursing & Allied Health group. 

Nursing or Allied Health, terminology must be exact


  • Click on CINAHL Headings at the top of the search screen
  • Click VIEW Tutorials on the screen.


Use the suggested term


Using the suggested term improves results retrieved:


The preferred term for Latino is Hispanic.  You receive more relevant results using the preferred term in your searching.


Finding too many articles indicates a poorly focused search


It is not unusual to retrieve too many articles, too few articles, or not exactly what you need. When that happens, you will need to refine your search. Just remember that the more limits you put on, the fewer results you will get. It is almost impossible to do a perfect search so  if more than half of your articles are relevant, you are doing it right. The search  engine is not  designed to be  precise so it is still up to the user to make sure the articles fill the need. In most cases, it is a bad idea to limit your search to full text articles unless you need only a few articles or you are taking a class through distance learning and cannot come to a library. Remember that non-full text articles can be obtained through Interlibrary Loan free of charge.

By following these steps you can improve your search strategy:

  • Check your search terms in the CINAHL Headings. Also make sure you have the right item selected in the pull down menu.
  • If you are looking for scholarly professional journals, make sure that you have checked the Peer Reviewed box.
  • Specify date ranges
  • Specify English Language


Filters are also called limiters


  • Refine your results by using the menu on the left hand side of your results page or on the Advanced Search page
  • Click on update after you have made your changes.


Limiting your results:  Using the Advanced Search page


  • Warning:  Apply date limiter first on the results page to the last 6 years. The most current year is on embargo.
  • This allows you to see if your topic is current


Limit your search results using the filters or limiters on the left side of the results page (blue area)

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