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NUR 304: Concepts in Nursing for the Practitioner Course Guide

Introduction | General Tips on Library Use | Nursing Databases | Searching Databases | Citations/APA Format | From Citations to Articles | Questions?


This page presents an overview of the resources and services currently available to students. Services, resources, and locations are all subject to change, particularly during academic year breaks. What's new at Fogler Library.

General Tips on Library Use

  • Not sure where to start?
  • Activate your library card at the Fogler Library circulation desk so you can use library resources off campus. (Distance education students: use the Library Card Application.) Wait a day or two for complete activation.
  • Plan on using a mix of online resources (accessible off campus) and print resources that must be copied or used inside the library. Give yourself enough time to find and copy or print library materials.
  • If you are a student on the Orono campus your MaineCard permits $16 worth of "free" printing ($0.04/side, $0.07/double-sided page) each semester. Pay for excess printouts using Black Bear Bucks ("campus funds"). Free printing funds don't carry over between semesters, but Black Bear Bucks do. Photocopies cost $0.08/side (Black Bear Bucks).

Nursing Databases

Use Indexes and Databases (Fogler Library) or the Mariner (University of Maine System) list of indexes and databases to find citations or references to journal articles. Databases are designed for use worldwide, so they will refer to some items that local libraries don't own.

Selected databases for nursing available to University of Maine System students
Database Subjects covered Materials covered Notes
CINAHL database guide
Nursing, allied health Journal articles, dissertations, software, etc.
Includes non-English publications
Cochrane Collection Plus Diseases, conditions, treatments, interventions Full text systematic reviews, clinical trials, technology assessments  
MEDLINE database guide
Medicine, related health sciences Journal articles.
Includes non-English publications. Includes references on animal research.
PubMed Medicine, related health sciences Journal articles.
More current and comprehensive than MEDLINE. Includes clinical query filters. Includes non-English publications. Includes references on animal research.

For additional databases available from Fogler Library, see the list available from the nursing portal.

Searching Databases

Database interfaces

The interface is the "packaging" wrapped around the database. Expect to see interfaces change during your academic career, and to see different interfaces at different libraries.

Examples of different interfaces to the same database:

MEDLINE, EBSCOhost version (current Fogler Library subscription)
MEDLINE, as part of PubMed, for Fogler Library users (Fogler Library access to free database from the National Library of Medicine)

The EBSCOhost version of CINAHL has a Basic and Advanced interface. Use Advanced Search to get the best results from the database.

Search steps

See the database guides for CINAHL, MEDLINE, and PsycINFO for detailed instructions.

  1. Document your research process--list the databases you used, the search terms you tried, etc.
  2. Define your topic and parameters.
  3. Identify individual concepts within your topic.
  4. Search for each concept separately. Use subject headings or terms from the thesaurus whenever possible.
  5. Combine the concepts.
  6. Apply limits to the results.
Use subject headings or terms from the thesaurus
  • Use the "suggest subject terms" or "thesaurus" feature
  • Each database uses its own thesaurus, which is updated annually. Example: MEDLINE and PubMed's "MeSH" (Medical Subject Headings).
  • Use "Explode" to select a subject heading plus more specific related terms
    • In CINAHL and MEDLINE, exploding retrieves all more specific related terms
    • MeSH terms in PubMed are exploded automatically
    • Using the library subscription to PsycINFO, only partial explodes are possible. (Example: exploding Pain retrieves Neuralgia but not the even more specific Trigeminal Neuralgia.)
  • Some topics are best searched by using a subject heading with a CINAHL subheading or MEDLINE/PubMed subheading attached. Example: Immunization/AE (adverse effects of immunization).
  • You can attach multiple subheadings to a subject heading. Example: Otitis Media/DT/SU (drug therapy or surgery for otitis media).
  • For CINAHL and MEDLINE, use "Major Concept" within the thesaurus to focus your search--but only if needed. Use "MeSH Major Topic" to focus searches in PubMed, if needed.
No thesaurus or subject headings?
  • Try alternative terminology: vaccination as well as immunization
  • Try alternative spelling: immunisation as well as immunization
  • Truncate (use a wildcard) to get variations on a word: vaccinat* to find vaccinating, vaccination, vaccinations...
Combine the concepts
Use AND for more specific results:
Socialization and Students, Nursing
s1 and s2
  AND narrows a search, 
      finding only results containing both terms.
Use OR to broaden a search with related terms:
Students, Nursing or Education, Nursing
s1 or s2
  OR expands a search, finding 
      results containing either or both terms.
Apply limits
  • Apply limits as needed
  • Common limits:
    • year of publication
    • language
    • age groups
    • sex
    • human (mostly in MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and PubMed)
  • CINAHL also provides useful limits for peer reviewed journals and research articles

Citations/APA Format

Citations from the CINAHL database

SOCIALIZATION of Japanese Nursing Students. (includes abstract); CONDON E; SHARTS-HOPKO N; Nursing Education Perspectives, 2010 May-Jun; 31 (3): 167-70 (journal article - research) ISSN: 1536-5026 PMID: 20635621

Clinical placements and nursing students' career planning: a qualitative exploration. (includes abstract); McKenna L; McCall L; Wray N; International Journal of Nursing Practice, 2010 Apr; 16 (2): 176-82 (journal article - research, tables/charts) ISSN: 1322-7114 PMID: 20487063

Same citations, 6th edition APA format

Condon, E., & Sharts-Hopko, N. (2010). Socialization of Japanese nursing students. Nursing Education Perspectives, 31, 167-170. Retrieved from

McKenna, L., McCall, L., & Wray, N. (2010). Clinical placements and nursing students' career planning: A qualitative exploration. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 16, 176-182. doi:10.1111/j.1440-172X.2010.01827.x

Issue numbers are required only when journals are "paginated separately by issue" (see 6.30 and 7.01 in the APA manual).

From Citations to Articles

See Finding Items at Fogler Library and Getting Items from Other Libraries.

More information about interlibrary loan:

  • Most article copies are free, but sometimes other libraries charge delivery and copying fees. On the request form, indicate the maximum cost you are willing to pay in case there is a charge.
  • Paper copies are sent to the library on the campus at which you are registered.
  • If you are going to visit another library, call before you travel. Check hours, policies, copying/printing fees, and whether the issue you need is available.

Additional notes for distance education students:

  • In the URSUS catalog, click the link(s) appropriate to your primary campus affiliation and where you are located.
  • Some of the links to UMaine ejournal subscriptions may not work for you.
  • Use the Off-Campus Library Services Document Delivery System, or similar hospital library services, to get copies of articles
  • Only Off-Campus Library Services delivers paper copies directly to your home address, workplace, etc. (but this may delay the delivery time).


Nancy Curtis, 581-1679
Fogler Library Science & Engineering Center, 581-1691
Fogler Library Reference Desk, 581-1673
Ask A Librarian at Fogler Library
Off-Campus Library Services
(800) 339-7323 [Maine]
(888) 266-4950 (out of state)
Ask A Librarian at Off-Campus Library Services

Created by: Nancy Curtis | Revised: 02/19/2014
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