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Nursing Portal

Information sources and support for nurses

Using the Library Databases

These instructions apply to databases accessed on the Ovid platform (Medline, Embase, Emcare) via the library website. 


Getting started

The database page will open at this page.  


Enter the search term for your first concept.

Note the check box to the left - Ovid will suggest appropriate subject headings.

The next screen will display possible subject headings or MeSH terms.



Selecting Subject Headings

In this example the word 'dementia' was entered. 





To help select the best subject heading there are two options:

  • the blue icon to the right of screen is a scope note. Clicking on it will give a definition of the term and the words it is used for
  • clicking on the words to the left will take you to the MeSH tree. From here you can see related terms which may help you choose.

Explode - means you select that term and any term below it in the subject terms hierarchy (or tree). You can also do this from the MeSH tree page.

Focus - means you select only articles in which that term is a major focus. This can help you select core material, but can also lead to missing out on relevant literature.

If none of the subject terms seem appropriate you can select the bottom row - search as keyword.


The next screen will display a list of subheadings. These can be used to narrow down your results if you have too much material. However they should be used with caution.


Adding terms and concepts

Your terms and numbers of results will now appear in the search history at the top of the page.

Now search for your next term. This maybe for another subject heading for the same concept, or on to the next part of your search. You will end up with a search history of all your terms.

Once you have searched your different concepts and related terms, you then combine concepts


Example: find literature on guidelines for nurses hand hygiene

Hand hygiene AND guidelines AND nurses