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Master of Health Management and Leadership: Medline

Introduction to MEDLINE / PubMed

MEDLINE is recognised as the premier index of biomedical literature, and includes coverage of dentistry. It is produced by the United States National Library of Medicine and covers thousands of international journals from 1950. Medline can be used to find primary EBP research.

The search tips on this page are for using Medline in the Ovid platform.

PubMed is essentially the free version of MEDLINE. One advantage of using PubMed is that access is free, which means that you will have access after you complete your studies.

If you are interested in the difference between MEDLINE and PubMed, the National Library of Medicine has a fact-sheet.

And for tips on searching in PubMed, please see PubMed Help

Searching in MEDLINE

  • Ovid Medline search screenThe default is to the Advanced Search screen. There is only one line of search, so for more complex searches you will need to use Nesting (see Searching in a database for information on nesting searches), or run your searches individually and then combine them.
  • 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.
  • 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.


""In the Medline database, try searching for the keywords: healthcare AND (manage* OR leadership) AND "evidence based"  entered as in the example below (quotations marks "" are used to create a phrase search, AND is used to combine concepts, OR is used to search for synonyms, the brackets () are a nesting tool used to create a logical search string & the asterix * is a truncation symbol used to expand a search, see the Search Techniques page for more information).

Alternatively, you could try searching for the search terms or key concepts you identified from your own assignment topic.

Note: You may need to sign in first with your CSU username and password

  • Look at the HTML and PDF links to access the full text of the article. Hint: as Medline is primarily an index you will not find many full text links, follow the                 Find it            link(s) to find out if you can access the article in another database.

Advanced - Using MeSH Terms in MEDLINE

Ovid Medline search screen showing the map term to subject heading option Ovid MEDLINE enables the user to search using MeSH terms. 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 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.

Let's use "community nursing" as an example. If you map the term "community nursing" to subject headings, you get a match for Community Health Nursing, as shown on this screen:

Medline subject headings screen

Medline subject headings for the term "community health nursing"


Clearly, "community nursing" matches to the MeSH term Community Health Nursing.



If you tick the box for Community Health Nursing, and click on Continue, you can select from the list of subheadings. You can select all the subheadings, or make a selection and combine them with AND or OR. Helpfully, you can see how many articles there are with each heading > subheading. Click on Continue to search for articles.

To learn more watch the adjacent Searching Ovid Medline Effectively video.

Advanced Medline

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