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Evidence Based Nursing Introduction: EBN Journals and Databases

Created by Health Science Librarians

Why Do I Need Journals and Databases?

  • Many people believe that everything is now available on the Web, for free to everyone. This just isn't so.
  • The credibility of health information on the Web can be questionable.
  • Searching the web through general search engines like Google and Bing can be overwhelming and time consuming.

As professionals you will want to use bibliographic databases such as CINAHL and PubMed (MEDLINE) to keep current with the research literature. In addition, full text databases such as the Cochrane Library (a database of systematic reviews), textbook resources such as STAT!Ref, and electronic journals such as Evidence Based Nursing can provide needed information, quickly and easily.

How the Library Can Help

While some web-based resources are free, many quality resources, such as the indexes, databases, journals, and textbooks that you need to do your job have a cost associated with them. Libraries provide access to many online resources, by paying subscription fees to publishers and vendors with the understanding that their library users can access this information from within the library, on campus, and sometimes from off-campus computers as well through proxy access.


UNC-CH Libraries Catalog
Not all journals that you will want to read will have online access.  Fortunately, UNC has access to many of both online and print journals related to nursing. To find out whether UNC-CH carries a particular journal, print or electronic, visit the UNC-CH Libraries Catalog. Type the title of the journal in the box. Select "Journal Title" from the "Search for words:" dropdown menu.

Electronic Journals Finder
The Electronic Journals Finder includes all of the journals to which UNC-CH has online access. 

Specific Evidence Based Practice Journals to Look For
The following journals use predefined criteria to publish evaluated abstracts of the literature and comment on the methodology of each published study. In other words, these journals perform systematic reviews of the literature, performing the critical appraisal and assessment of the literature mentioned in the "steps" of evidence based practice.


What is a Database?

A bibliographic database leads the user to sources of information, usually in journals, providing a citation that includes the article's author, title and source information; journal name, volume, issue and page numbers, and often an abstract of the article. As opposed to the Cochrane systematic review databases, the searcher must analyze the quality and relevance of the studies themselves when using PubMed and CINAHL.

Online full text of articles may be available from databases if the library subscribes to the journal and the database is accessed on-campus or through the proxy server off-campus. Keep in mind that just because the library does not have electronic access does not mean we do not have access to the print journal!  Here are the two of the most utilized databases by nurses:

The CINAHL database (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health) covers nursing, allied health, biomedical and consumer health journals, publications of the American Nursing Association, and the National League for Nursing. Over 350,000 records and 900 journals are included. It also includes healthcare books, nursing dissertations, standards of professional practice, nurse practice acts, and educational software.

PubMed (MEDLINE) is a free resource provided by the National Library of Medicine. Anyone can access this database, which is widely recognized as the premier source for bibliographic and abstract coverage of biomedical literature. However, UNC affiliated users may be able to directly access article from PubMed to journals that the UNC libraries hold access. Be sure to access PubMed from the Health Sciences Library link (which is the link included in this resource page) to ensure that your pages are linked to UNC's collection.

PubMed includes citation and abstract information from Index Medicus, Index to Dental Literature, and International Nursing Index, as well as other sources in the areas of allied health, physical therapy, health education, biological and physical sciences, humanities and information science as they relate to medicine and health care, communication disorders, population biology, and reproductive biology.

PubMed: Ten Tips (UNC HSL) Our PubMed Ten Tips tutorial, especially designed for UNC affilliates, will tell you what you need to know to get started with PubMed searching.  Includes screenshots.

PubMed Tutorial (NLM) This is an in-depth tutorial from the National Library of Medicine on how to use Medline (via PubMed). The learner explores modules which use the Macromedia Flash player.

Evidence Based Practice Databases

Below are databases that focus specifically on Evidence Based Practice that you may find helpful.