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Nursing and Allied Health: All About PubMed Filters

Online Learning


How to use filters


Filters narrow your search results by article type, text availability, publication date, species, language, sex, subject, journal category, and age.

Applyiing filters


  1. Run a search in PubMed.
  2. Click the filter you would like to activate from the sidebar. A check mark will appear next to the activated filter(s). 
  3. Subsequent searches will be filtered until the selected filters are turned off, or until your browser data is cleared.
The most popular filters are included on the left sidebar by default.


To display additional filters on the sidebar:

  1. Click the "Additional filters" button.
  2. A pop-up menu will appear showing the available filters for each category: article type, species, language, sex, subject, journal, and age.
  3. Choose a category from the list of options on the left side of the menu: Article Type, Species, etc.
  4. Within each category, select the filters you would like to add to the sidebar.
  5. Click Apply. This will close the pop-up menu and display your selections on the sidebar with the other filters.
  6. If you would like to cancel your selections, click Cancel or click on the X in the upper right corner to close the pop-up and return to your search results.
  7. To apply the filter(s) to your search, click the filter(s) on the sidebar. 
More information about filters:


  • When filters are selected a "Filters applied" message will display on the results page.
  • Click an applied filter to turn it off. 
  • To turn off all applied filters, click the "Clear all" link or the "Reset all filters" button.
  • Citations may be excluded for some filter selections because they have not yet completed the MEDLINE indexing process.
  • You can also activate additional filters with My NCBI filters.
Article type


Select article types to narrow your results based on the type of material the article represents, such as: Clinical Trial or Review.

You can add more article types to the sidebar using the Additional Filters button. The complete list of MEDLINE publication types is available. Systematic review articles are retrieved using a search strategy.

These filters may exclude some citations that have not yet completed the MEDLINE indexing process.

Text availability


Filter your results only to citations that include a link to full text, a link to free full text, or an abstract, click the appropriate selections.

Alternatively, you may search for citations with links to full text, free full text or include an abstract using the values: full text[sb], free full text[sb], or 'hasabstract'. No search field tag is required for has abstract. You may also search for all MEDLINE citations with a structured abstract with ‘has structure dabstract’.

Note: Most citations in PubMed to articles published before 1975 do not include abstracts.

  • Undergraduate students:  Use the Free Full Text filter
  • Graduate students: Do not use the Free Full Text filter.  Not using this filter increases the number of citations.  You can always obtain the article through Nursing Interlibrary Loan


Nursing Interlibrary Loan (Journal articles)


  • Interlibrary Loan of full text articles requires 1-2 business days unless it is a foreign journal not held by a library in our region.
  • If you request Nursing ILL through the ILL form after hours or on the weekend, the request will be placed into the NLM Medical Libraries que the first business day the library reopens.  Please be certain to include both the ISSN and PMID from the PubMed record.
  • Information can be copy and pasted from the PubMed record into the ILL form.
Publication date


To filter your results by Publication Date, click 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years. These filters include both electronic and print publication dates. 



Species selections restrict your results to human or animal studies.

  • Add species filters to the sidebar using the Additional Filters button. Then choose human and select the species check box.
  • These filters may exclude some citations because they have not yet completed the MEDLINE indexing process.


  • Restrict your search results to English.  Language selections restrict your search to articles written in that language.
  • Add language filters to the sidebar using the Additional Filters button. Then check the box for English.
  • Filters may be saved permanently within your MyNCBI account at the top of the page. Customize your collections.

Sex filter



  • Restricts your search results to a specific sex for an animal or human study.
  • Using the Additional Filters button, add the sex filter to the sidebar.  Next, select male or female.
  • This filter may exclude some citations because they have not yet completed the MEDLINE indexing process.

Note:  If you are searching for an intersex species or transsex patient type, do not search male or female. Use the subject term such as hermaphrodite, intersex* or transsex*.. Note:  If you are searching for articles about breast cancer in males, use the birth sex. A transsexual male may present as female, yet have the hormonal makeup of a male.  Conversely, a transsexual of either type may use hormone therapy and terms for hormone therapy should be added to the search. 



Special subject filters restrict retrieval to specific subjects where there is a large body of knowledge, such as:

  • AIDS
  • Cancer
  • Systematic Reviews

Use the Additional Filters button. to add one of these subjects to the sidebar, Then select the special subject.

Other subjects use a specialized search strategy.  Additional subject filters and subject filter search strategies are available at PubMed Subject Filters.

Subjects can also be searched using aids[sb] or cancer[sb]. The Systematic Reviews filter is also included with the Article Type filters.

More subsets and journal categories


Select journal categories can be added to the sidebar using the Additional Filters button.  Restricting journal articles to a Nursing Journal subset will remove relevant articles. 

A better method for retrieving nursing related journal articles : To the final search set, add the words AND (nurse OR Nursing or Nurs*).   This does not apply to articles on primary care applicable to the nurse practitioner.


  • Dental journals

  • Nursing journals

The Journal/Citation subsets restrict retrieval to specialized journals or articles on specialized topics in other journals. The table below lists the journal subsets, along with the code used for searching. Some subsets are closed and are no longer being assigned to current data.

To search for a Journal/Citation subset, enter in the search box: jsubset?, where ? represents the subset code. The Journal/Citation subset does not require a search tag.

Subset Code Journal/Citation Subset
AIM Abridged Index Medicus is a list created in 1970 of approximately 120 core clinical English language journals that corresponds to "Core clinical journals" journal category selection in filters.
D Dentistry journals
E Citations from bioethics journals or selected bioethics citations from other journals
H Health administration journals, non-Index Medicus
IM Index Medicus journals
K Consumer health journals


Nursing Journals
Q History of medicine journals and selected citations from other journals
QIS Citations from non-Index Medicus journals in the field of history of medicine
S Citations from space life sciences journals and selected space life sciences citations from other journals
T Health technology assessment journals, non-Index Medicus
X AIDS/HIV journals (selected citations from other journals 1980-2000)
PubMed Central Subset

To restrict retrieval to citations that have a free full-text article available in PubMed Central (PMC), search pubmed pmc[sb].

Use the PMID/PMCID/NIHMSID Converter to convert IDs for publications referenced in PubMed and PMC. To retrieve citations that include an NIHMS ID use the query, hasnihmsid.

Citation Status Subsets

The citation status indicates the internal processing stage of an article in the PubMed database (see PubMed Citation Status Subsets).

To search for a particular citation status, enter one of the search terms below followed by the [sb] search tag:

  • publisher
  • inprocess
  • medline
  • pubmednotmedline

To search for the total number of PubMed citations, enter all[sb] in the search box.

Ahead of Print Citations


Publishers may submit citations for articles that appear on the web prior to their publication in final or print format. To search for these ahead-of-print citations, enter pubstatusaheadofprint. Ahead of print articles will not be available through Interlibrary Loan until the journal prints.



  • Age filters restrict results to a specific age group for a human study.
  • Using the Additional Filters Button, add the age filter(s) to the left sidebar.  Then select the box of the specific age filter you desire.


Age filters include:


  • Child: birth-18 years
  • Newborn: birth-1 month
  • Infant: birth-23 months
  • Infant: 1-23 months
  • Preschool Child: 2-5 years
  • Child: 6-12 years
  • Adolescent: 13-18 years
  • Adult: 19+ years
  • Young Adult: 19-24 years
  • Adult: 19-44 years
  • Middle Aged + Aged: 45+ years
  • Middle Aged: 45-64 years
  • Aged: 65+ years
  • 80 and over: 80+ years

These filters may exclude some citations because they have not yet completed the MEDLINE indexing process.

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