Nursing Search Engines and Databases: A Comprehensive Guide for Healthcare Professionals


Identifying articles for completion of the nursing profession assignment requires a search strategy where key terms derived from the research question are organized and entered into search engines and databases (Grewal, Kataria & Dhawan, 2016). The strategy is to ensure that one can access relevant, accurate, and high-quality scholarly materials that answer the research question and have met the required standards for publication. According to Grewal, Kataria & Dhawan (2016), the first step summarizes the research question by identifying nouns, proper nouns, action verbs, and other nouns or phrases that form the key concepts scaledown to specifics.

One must note the synonyms and antonyms associated with the keywords and the meaning of abbreviations used to help develop a fine-tuned approach during the research (Ho et a., 2016). Many words commonly form the keywords during research as a surgical medical nurse has other medically recognized synonyms and abbreviations to be considered in obtaining sufficient research materials. Some of the commonly used synonyms in nursing assignments include “treatment plan” for “regimen,” “physician” for “doctor,” and abbreviations include EBP, which means evidence-based practice and RN for registered nurses.

How I Do It: Nursing Search Engines and Databases

During my weekly article summary assignments, I sometimes use standard web search engines such as Google and Google Scholar to identify the peer-reviewed articles relevant to my research assignment. However, these engines’ use requires caution since many articles with generalized or contradicting information may be obtained hence the need to countercheck them in more scientific research databases (Shaheem & Ormsby, 2017). While using Google, I always verify all the articles obtained after using the identified keywords by checking their citations by other authors on Google Scholar.

Google Scholar allows me to scale down to more relevant, recent, and most cited articles due to its “sort by” and “cited by” options that aid in saving research time. I find such an approach helpful because I can also review other authors’ works who have cited the work and read their input from other research works. However, according to Grewal, Kataria & Dhawan (2016), a combination of databases and search engines id encouraged during research to broaden the number of sources where scholarly materials related to the research topic can be obtained.

Further, I use more multidisciplinary search databases like ProQuest, Web of Science, and SCOPUS which include many scholarly materials in science, social science, and medicine with advanced search options. Using these databases involves the same procedure used in the general search using Google, where keywords and their synonyms are used, but they contain subject-specific drop-down options (Shaheem & Ormsby, 2017).

Other Databases

Other significant multidisciplinary web-based databases that I commonly use to retrieve various articles in my researches include PubMed, TRIP, Cochrane Library, Medline, CINAHL, MeSH, Embase, ERIC, and the Indian database (Ho et al., 2016). According to Grewal, Kataria & Dhawan (2016), most of these databases can be used effectively through their options that enable the user to explore their ‘use limit’ options to narrow to more specific search results. These options that can be used singly or in combination include limit by author, reviews (document type or article), subject head, date, keywords, and ‘search within’ option for keyword specifics.

One of my recent researches found scholarly articles that show myomectomy as a safe and efficacious procedure that can be used in place of hysterectomy for uterine fibroids treatment. I used keywords such as myomectomy, hysterectomy, safe, efficacious, and uterine fibroids. I used synonyms such as myomas for fibroids, secure for safe, effective for efficacious, and total uterus removal for hysterectomy, whereas the databases used included PubMed, Cochrane, Medline, and CINAHL.



Grewal, A., Kataria, H., & Dhawan, I. (2016). Literature search for research planning and identification of research problem. Indian journal of anaesthesia60(9), 635.

Ho, G. J., Liew, S. M., Ng, C. J., Hisham Shunmugam, R., & Glasziou, P. (2016). Development of a search strategy for an evidence based retrieval service. PloS one11(12), e0167170.

Shaheem, Y., & Ormsby, T. (2017). Top tips for finding high quality scholarly resources.


Are you a healthcare professional looking for reliable sources of nursing information? In the age of technology, search engines and databases play a vital role in finding accurate and up-to-date resources for nursing practice. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the world of nursing search engines and databases, providing you with valuable insights and tips to enhance your information retrieval skills. From understanding the importance of nursing-specific search engines to exploring the vast databases tailored for healthcare professionals, this article will equip you with the knowledge and expertise to navigate the digital landscape effectively.

Nursing Search Engines and Databases: Why They Matter

As healthcare professionals, we know that accurate and reliable information is crucial for evidence-based practice and providing quality care to patients. With the abundance of information available online, it can be overwhelming to find credible sources that cater specifically to nursing. This is where nursing search engines and databases come into play.

The Importance of Nursing-Specific Search Engines

Nursing-specific search engines are designed to curate and deliver search results that are specifically relevant to the field of nursing. These specialized search engines understand the unique needs of healthcare professionals, ensuring that the information retrieved is reliable, evidence-based, and applicable to nursing practice.

By using nursing-specific search engines, you can save time and effort by avoiding irrelevant or non-credible sources. These search engines are built with algorithms that prioritize nursing-related content, so you can easily access reputable journals, scholarly articles, clinical guidelines, and other nursing-specific resources.

Exploring Nursing Databases

Nursing databases are vast collections of scholarly articles, research papers, and other resources that are invaluable to healthcare professionals. These databases contain a wealth of information that can support evidence-based practice, facilitate research, and enhance clinical decision-making.

Nursing databases typically include content from various reputable publishers, academic institutions, and healthcare organizations. They cover a wide range of topics, such as nursing theories, patient care, pharmacology, nursing education, and more. With the help of nursing databases, you can delve deep into the literature and access high-quality research that informs your nursing practice.

Nursing Search Engines: Finding the Needle in the Haystack

When it comes to searching for nursing-specific information, using the right search engine can make a world of difference. Here are some popular nursing search engines that cater specifically to healthcare professionals:

1. NursingReferenceCenterPlus


NursingReferenceCenterPlus is a comprehensive nursing search engine that provides evidence-based information for nursing practice. It offers access to nursing journals, drug monographs, evidence summaries, skill competency checklists, and patient education materials. With its user-friendly interface and extensive content, NursingReferenceCenterPlus is a go-to resource for nurses seeking reliable information.

To access NursingReferenceCenterPlus, visit their official website and sign up for a subscription. Subscribers gain full access to the platform’s vast array of resources and can explore topics of interest with ease.

2. PubMed


PubMed is a widely used search engine for biomedical literature, including nursing-related research. The U.S. National Library of Medicine maintains it and provides access to an extensive collection of scientific articles and journals. Using relevant keywords and filters, nurses can narrow their search results and find articles that specifically align with their information needs.

To begin your search on PubMed, visit their official website and enter your keywords in the search bar. Refining your search with filters such as publication date, article type, and study design can help you find the most relevant and recent nursing research.

3. CINAHL Complete


CINAHL Complete is a comprehensive nursing and allied health research database. It offers access to a wide range of nursing journals, evidence-based care sheets, clinical trials, and continuing education modules. With its user-friendly interface and advanced search features, CINAHL Complete allows nurses to explore a vast collection of nursing literature and stay updated with the latest developments in the field.

To access CINAHL Complete, visit their official website and explore the subscription options. Many academic institutions and healthcare organizations provide access to CINAHL Complete for their members, ensuring that nurses have the necessary resources at their fingertips.

Nursing Databases: Delving into the Sea of Knowledge

Nursing databases offer a treasure trove of scholarly articles and research papers that can significantly enhance your nursing practice. Here are some widely recognized nursing databases that are worth exploring:



MEDLINE is one of the largest and most respected databases for medical literature. It covers a wide range of medical disciplines, including nursing. Managed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, MEDLINE contains articles from prestigious journals, conference proceedings, and other scholarly publications. It serves as a valuable resource for nurses seeking evidence-based information to support their practice.

To access MEDLINE, you can visit their official website or utilize it through platforms like PubMed. MEDLINE’s extensive coverage ensures that you can find relevant nursing articles across various sub-specialties and topics.

2. Cochrane Library


The Cochrane Library is renowned for systematic reviews and meta-analyses that summarize existing research. It covers various disciplines, including nursing, offering insights into intervention effectiveness.

Visit the official Cochrane Library website and use their search function to find systematic reviews. These reviews inform nursing practice decisions by synthesizing evidence and highlighting effective interventions.

3. Scopus


Scopus is a vast multidisciplinary database that covers a wide range of scientific literature, including nursing. It includes articles from reputable journals, conference papers, and patents. Scopus offers advanced search capabilities, citation analysis tools, and comprehensive author profiles, making it a valuable resource for researchers and healthcare professionals alike.

To access Scopus, you can visit their official website and explore their subscription options. Many academic institutions provide access to Scopus for their students and faculty members, enabling nurses to stay abreast of the latest research and developments in the field.

FAQs About Nursing Search Engines and Databases

1. Are nursing-specific search engines better than general search engines like Google?

While general search engines like Google can provide a vast array of information, nursing-specific search engines tailor to the needs of healthcare professionals. They curate search results that are specifically relevant to nursing, ensuring that you find evidence-based and credible information more efficiently. However, general search engines can still be useful for broader searches or when exploring non-nursing-specific topics.

2. How can I improve my search skills to find relevant nursing information effectively?

To improve your search skills, consider the following tips:

  • Use specific and relevant keywords to refine your search.
  • Utilize advanced search options and filters to narrow down your results.
  • Explore different search engines and databases to access a wider range of resources.
  • Stay updated with the latest developments in nursing informatics and information retrieval techniques.

3. Can I access nursing databases for free?

Some nursing databases offer free access to limited resources or provide open access to certain articles. However, many comprehensive nursing databases require a subscription or access through an academic or institutional affiliation. Check with your organization or academic institution to see if they provide access to nursing databases for their members.

4. How can nursing search engines and databases contribute to evidence-based practice?

Nursing search engines and databases offer access to research articles, scholarly publications, and evidence-based resources. Nurses can stay updated, explore best practices, and make informed decisions using these platforms. This contributes to the delivery of quality care and the advancement of evidence-based practice in nursing.

5. Are there any specialized nursing search engines for specific nursing specialties or topics?

Yes, specialized nursing search engines cater to specific nursing specialties or topics. For example, if pediatric nursing interests you, you can actively explore search engines and databases that specifically focus on pediatric healthcare. These specialized platforms curate content that aligns with the unique information needs of nurses working in specific areas of practice.

6. Can I cite articles or resources found through nursing search engines and databases in my research papers?

Yes, you can cite articles or resources found through nursing search engines and databases in your research papers. It is important to follow proper citation guidelines and ensure that the sources you cite are reputable and peer-reviewed. Most nursing search engines and databases provide citation information that you can use to create accurate references for your academic work.

Key TakeAway

In the digital age, nursing search engines and databases are crucial for healthcare professionals. They provide access to reliable information. Nurses can streamline their retrieval process and find credible resources using nursing-specific search engines like NursingReferenceCenterPlus and PubMed. Exploring nursing databases like MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library empowers nurses to access high-quality research. It informs their practice and enhances their knowledge. Nurses can support evidence-based practice and deliver the highest quality of care to their patients by harnessing the power of these resources.