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Postgraduate Nursing: Medline & PsycINFO

formerly Master of Nursing

About MEDLINE (and PubMed) and other Ovid databases

MEDLINE is recognized as the premier index of biomedical literature, and includes coverage of nursing. It is produced by the United States National Library of Medicine and covers thousands of international journals from 1946 until today. Medline can be used to find primary EBP research. PubMed is essentially the free version of MEDLINE (with a few other add-ons), which is handy in that you will still have access after you complete your studies. For tips on searching in PubMed, please see PubMed Help. You may also find this short (and free) self-paced course on Using PubMed in Evidence Based Practice helpful.

The search tips below are for Medline on the Ovid platform. Ovid provides access to a number of health, medical, and psychology databases, including PsycInfo and Emcare. 

Journals indexed in PsycInfo cover the psychological and socio-behavioural aspects of health, so it is useful if you are including this aspect in your research. Emcare covers all nursing specialties and nursing healthcare professions and includes many journals not covered by CINAHL, so if you want to be thorough, it's worth checking Emcare.

Searching in Medline

Medline defaults to the Advanced Search screen. There is only one line of search, so for more complex searches you will need to   search for each concept and then combine them as you go.

Medline Search

Here are a few tips about searching in Ovid databases:

  • The default in Ovid is to a phrase search so typing in nursing diagnosis will search for that as a phrase - no need for " ".
  • There are many limiters available. Some of these you can apply at the time of your search, others - Additional Limits - can only be applied to a search you have already run.
  • The proximity operator is ADJn, where n is the number of words you specify.
  • MEDLINE is primarily an index, but does have some links to full-text. For results where there is no full-text link, click on the Find it at CSU link to search for the full article in other CSU Library databases via Primo.
  • Searches are recorded in the Search History panel which is above the Search panel. If you can't see all of your previous searches, click on the Expand button to the right of the Search history panel.
  • If you wish to permanently save searches, search alerts, or manage research, you need a personal account in Ovid. Simply click on My Account at the top right of the screen, then Create Account and follow the prompts (remembering to record your login and password for future use!).

Searching Ovid Medline

PsycINFO on Ovid

Searching in the PsycINFO database is very similar to searching in the Medline database, as they are both in the Ovid platform.

PsycINFO is a database of journal and other citations with some full-text available, covering the psychological and social behavioral aspects of health sciences. It is produced by the American Psychological Association and is very useful in nursing studies. It is primarily an index, but does contain some full-text links. And of course you can also use the Find it @ CSU links to find the full text in one of our other databases.

For more information, see the APA's PsycINFO factsheet and you can access this database from our A-Z Databases: P page.

The database opens to the Advanced Search screen, the default is to search by Keyword, but this field can be changed to search by Author, Title or Journal. Like Medline, you can also check the Map Term to Subject Heading box to search more thoroughly.

PsycINFO search screnn

More help on searching the Ovid PsycINFO database is available:

Advanced - Using MeSH terms in Medline

MeSH (medical subject headings), is a controlled vocabulary/thesaurus, created by the US National Library of Medicine, that Medline indexers use to describe article content. Searching Ovid Medline using MeSH terms enables us to create a targeted search.

In the Advanced Search screen, tick the Map Term to Subject Heading box. Enter your topic/concept/idea in the search box and click on Search.

Note: When searching using MeSH terms we search for one concept at a time, individual concepts can then be combined using the Medline Search History function.

Medline search

Let's use "heart attack" as an example. If you map the term "heart attack" to subject headings, you get a match for Myocardial Infarction, as shown on this screen:

Medline map search to MeSH term

  • Tick the Explode box to select, and search for, subject headings and any narrower terms. This is a way of broadening your search.
  • Tick the Focus box to search only for articles where that subject heading appears as a Major Subject Heading.
  • If you click on the subject heading itself, you are taken into a tree view - that is, the subject heading hierarchy. Use this to identify broader or narrower terms.

Select Myocardial Infarction, click on Continue to select from a list of subheadings. You can select all the subheadings, or make a selection of 1 or more subheadings which can be combined with AND or OR. In our example we select the subheading /nu - Nursing & click on Continue to search.

Medline search using MeSh term and suggested subheading

Our search for Myocardial Infarction/nu [Nursing] produced 1070 results:

Medline MeSH search results

Note: Although you may find some links to full text articles, Medline is primarily a database of abstracts. To locate full text when not immediately available click on the Find it at CSU links to check if the full text is available in another of our subscribed databases.

Nursing resources in PsycINFO - Video

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