How to use Cinahl

What's in Cinahl (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature)?

Cinahl covers international nursing and allied health literature from 1982 onwards. Most English language nursing journals are indexed, including a number of Australian titles. There is good coverage of publications by the American Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing (U.S.). Nursing dissertations, selected conference proceedings and standards of professional practice are also indexed as well as key journals from other allied health areas. Note: Contains some full text.

How do I access it?

Go to the databases page Opens in a new window and select CINAHL from the A-Z list. You will be prompted to enter your Monash AuthCate username and password.

How do I search?

Keyword Searching:

A keyword search looks for a term in the title, Cinahl subject headings, abstract and instrumentation fields.

Tip: when searching by keyword consider all possible terms, such as variant spellings and synonyms.

Sample topic: The treatment of pressure ulcers

sample topic in search box

On the Main Search Page type the keywords to be searched, treat$ (finds treat, treatment, treated, etc.), AND pressure ulcers and click on search button.

Combining search terms

Words will be searched as a phrase unless combined using the following words, which are sometimes referred

to as Boolean operators:

  • AND = Articles contain all the selected terms/sets (Refines a search) e.g. nursing and ethics;
  • OR = Articles contain alternative, or similar, terms/sets (Broadens a search) e.g. paramedicor EMT
  • NOT = Eliminates unwanted search terms/sets e.g. euthanasia not suicide


When keyword searching, u se truncation to replace characters in a word i.e.

$ replaces one or more letters: hospital$ retrieves hospital, hospitals or hospitalisation

? replaces one or no letters: colo?r retrieves color or colour


Limits can be used to refine a search result even further. The most commonly used limits are available on the

Main Search Page e.g. Research, English Language and publication year. Note that limits are applied to the last

search you have undertaken. For the full range of limits or to limit an earlier search click on more limits.

How do I view the results?

  1. Click displaynext to a search set to view your search result.
  2. Click the Complete Reference link for each relevant record to view more information, such as abstract and subject headings. Note relevant subject headings to modify your search if required.
  3. For many references, a direct link to a full text journal article is possible through either:
    • An Ovid Full Text link or
    • A left arrow link

    If the article is not available in full text, click the SFX link to check:

    • Availability of the article via another electronic source
    • Locate the journal in the Monash University Library Catalogue
    • Look for the article on the web

  4. Click return to sessionto return to your search results.
search results screen

How do I save, print or email the results?

  1. Select records by clicking the box to the left of each citation.
  2. Scroll to Results Manager at the bottom of the screen and select an option from each column.
  3. The defaults are —
  4. Results: default selection is Selected Results; Fields: default is Citation + Abstract; Result Format: select Ovid. For actions select from

    • Click Print preview and select print from the menu options in your web browser.
    • Click Email and type a valid email address.
    • To print Ovid Full Text articles, first open the full text, then select Print Preview and use the web browser's print facility. Note that graphics are not included when saving emailing Ovid Full Text articles.
    • TIP: To export records directly into an EndNote library, select Fields: Complete reference, Result format: Direct Export and Action: Save.

Other information

Exit: As some journals have a limited number of users at one time, click logoffto end your session.

For help:

  • Click helpat the top right of the search screen,
  • Select the Monash University Library Email Help link on the top of the Main Search Page to email a question to local staff or
  • Ask at the library information desk.