Skip to Main Content

Nursing Portal

Information sources and support for nurses


 1  Navigate to Ovid Medline page  >> popular databases  >> select institution >>  Medline.   Ovid Medline page will open


2  Break your question down to concepts

EG literature on guidelines for hand hygiene in nursing becomes hand hygiene + guidelines + nursing

You will search each of these separately, then combine.


3. Search first concept - MeSH  List of MESH terms as example

  • enter words for first concept in search bar eg hand hygiene      
  • a new page will open suggesting subject headings (MeSH - what's a MeSH?)
  • to see the definition of a subject heading click the symbol to the right of screen
  • click the subject heading to see related terms
  • you can choose multiple subject headings.
  • select explode to include subcategories of the subject heading.
  • click through the sub-headings page
  • if none of the subject headings are relevant select the bottom option search as keyword


4. Search first concept  - keywords 

  • You also need to search keywords (title/abstract) as subject headings are not always present
  • consider word variations - different spellings (Anglo/US), plurals, alternate terminology
  • use truncation , wildcards or proximity adjn to optimise your search (what are these  )


5. Combine subject headings and keywords  Screenshot showing example of three lines of search.

Bring your terms together.

This is your hand hygiene 'bundle'


6. Repeat for other concepts


7. Combine bundles   

Select the lines you want using the check boxes to the left of screen. screenshot of search strategy showing each concept searched in turn

Combine with the AND button below your search history.

The most relevant material will be those that are present in all your concepts.


8. More tips

  • restrict common words to title searches using the check circle above the search bar (see lines 5, 8 in example)
  • use explode (exp, line 7 in example) to broaden, or focus to narrow subject headings ( )
  • use OR to search multiple  terms at once
  • Filter by year, language, age group etc using the filters below the search bar.
  • email or export the results to keep a permanent copy