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Nursing/Health Sciences: Home

A guide to help you select resources useful for the Health Sciences and Nursing curriculum.

Welcome! This guide will help you select academic resources appropriate for Nursing and Health Sciences.

Below are instructions on searching databases; when you click on the tab labeled Resources you can get direct access to specific databases.

Searching CINAHL

Accessing Library Databases

Go to the SRC Library webpage and select Databases A-Z, or visit the Resources tab above to find direct links to databases that coincide with nursing. 

Access is available to students on all campuses and from off campus with your library card number found on the back of your student ID card. When prompted for this number be sure to use a capital D and your digits with no spaces in between, for example D8692xxxxx.

Nursing/Health Database Searching

For a basic search tutorial click here to view a short video, (Note: viewing the video is highly recommended before you begin learning about subject searching). There is also a Searching Databases library guide that will help you with basic searching. 

Subject Searching:

Whenever you do a keyword search in a database it does not recognize the meaning of the word. Because of this when a word has more than one meaning then irrelevant records will be retrieved. Articles indexed in a database are assigned subject headings to help you locate the resource, so when you do a subject search only the subject headings are searched for. 


1. To begin searching for articles within CINAHL make sure that Suggest Subject Terms is checked. This helps you choose a more exact subject heading to search with. (For example, if you type in diabetes, CINAHL will direct you to use the subject heading diabetes mellitus).

2. Next choose your subject heading from the drop down autocomplete list and click on the button that says Search.

3. On the CINAHL Headings page check the box next to the heading that best fits your topic. Notice when you check this box subheadings appear, these subheadings can help you focus your search.

4. Once you have selected your subheading(s), click on the Search Database button to run your search. (Note: Explode will make your search broader, and Major Concept will narrow your results).

If you feel satisfied with these results then stop here.

Combining Subjects for Complex Searches:

5. If you need to include more subjects then clear the search box and repeat steps 1-4 with a new search word, don't worry your results from each search will be saved.

6. Next click the link for Search History located below the search boxes.

• Clear your search box of all text in order to combine your search sets.
• Check the boxes to the left of the searches you would like to combine. 
• Then click on the button at the top of the Search History box that says Search with AND.
• Now you will see a new search in your search history box.
• To view the results, click on the link to the right that says View Results.

Here is a video from EBSCO on using Subject Terms when searching CINAHL. 

Refining your Search Results:

Use the filters on the left side of the results page to refine your search further.


Once you have found and opened a document don't forget about the tools to email, print, and cite the article.

If you need additional assistance please don't hesitate to call 309.649.6603 or email


Search Tips

Boolean - when you use a Boolean search, keywords are combined by the operators AND, OR, and NOT.
You can use these operators in the database search interface to create a very broad or very narrow search.

  • And combines search terms so that each search result contains all of the terms. For example, piano and keyboard finds articles that contain both piano and keyboard. 
  • Or combines search terms so that each search result contains at least one of the terms. For example, piano or keyboard finds results that contain either piano or keyboard.
  • Not excludes terms so that each search result does not contain any of the terms that follow it. For example, piano not keyboard finds results that contain piano but not keyboard.

image Venn diagrams


Be aware:  In many, but not all, databases, the AND is implied.

• For example, Google automatically puts an AND in between your keywords.
• Though all your search terms are included in the results, they may not be connected together in the way you want.
• For example, this search:   college students test anxiety   is translated to:   college AND students AND test AND anxiety. The word may appear individually throughout the resulting records.

You can search using phrases to make your results more specific.

• For example:  "college students" AND "test anxiety". This way, the phrases show up in the results as you expect them to be. 


Proximity Search - enables you to search for two or more words that occur close to one another in a database.

N or near operator with a number between the search terms will find the words that are near each other regardless or the order they are in. For example, music N4 appreciation will return both music appreciation and appreciation of music.

W or within operator with a number between the search terms will find the words that are within the number and in the exact order. For example, music W4 appreciation will return results with the words music appreciation in that order only

You may change or adjust the number operators to tighten or broaden a search.

Truncation Symbols - use this search option when unsure of spelling or various endings to words. 

An asterisk * is used as a filler for letters within words. Enter the root of the search term and replace the ending with an , for example, search* will result in searching or searches. 

Wildcards - use this option when you need to find words with alternate spelling.

Use the pound sign # as a wildcard, enter your search terms, adding the # in places where an alternate spelling may contain an extra character. For example, type lab#r to retrieve, labor or labour, another example is, theat# to retrieve, theater or theatre. 

Quotation Marks - use this option when you want to search exact phrases.

Enclose your search terms with "quotation marks" to find words in the exact order as typed. For example, typing "social media" will return articles with that exact phrase. 


Jeannette Glover's picture
Jeannette Glover
Russell Learning Resource Center
23235 N. County Highway 22
Canton, IL 61520

Creator Attribution

Created by Marla Turgeon