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Search Strategies for Nursing

This guide will show you different ways to search to find the most relevant results.

This example is from a search conducted in the CINAHL database.  The interface may look different in other databases but they function similarly.  CINAHL is shown since it is the most frequently used database for nursing at UTA.

1. Accessing CINAHL

You can use the link above to access CINAHL.

You can also access CINAHL through the library's web page:

  • Go to
  • Hover over "Research" and then click on "Databases A-Z"
  • Click on "C"
  • Click on CINAHL from the alphabetized list
  • If you are off-campus, you will be prompted to log in using your NetID username and password

2. Search CINAHL

Input a search with terms that may be found in the resources you are looking for. Combine like-terms with OR. Ideas are

  • Education, Post-RN
  • Students, Post-RN
  • "RN-BSN"
  • "RN to BSN"
  • Transition
  • Return
  • Adjust
  • Transform

An example search is (return* OR transition*) AND MH ( "Education, Post-RN" OR "Students, Post-RN").
See how it appears below:

sample CINAHL search

NOTE: Using an asterisk (*) next to the root of a word will find all forms. So a search for transion* will find words including transition, transitioning, transitioned, etc.


3. Limit by Publication Date

Input your date range on the left or slide the bar until it matches the dates you need.

sample search limiting publication date