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Featured Resource - 2009 No. 110

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About Nursing Reference Center

Nursing Reference Center (NRC) is a comprehensive reference tool designed for nurses and other health care professionals for use at the point-of-care. It provides evidence-based information about diseases and conditions, plus drugs, laboratory & diagnostic tests, practice guidelines, patient education handouts, continuing education modules, and more. It is published by EBSCO and made available by license through Dana Medical Library at the University of Vermont.

How to access Nursing Reference Center

  • Go to Dana Medical Library's homepage
  • Under Find, click Articles & Databases. Scroll down to the Clinical Databases section. Click on Nursing Reference Center.
  • Nursing Reference Center is available throughout the University of Vermont and University of Vermont Medical Center campus.
  • Off-campus access to Nursing Reference Center is restricted to UVM and University of Vermont Medical Center faculty, staff, and students. See the Connect from Off-Campus link on the Dana Medical Library homepage for more information.
  • Members of the community may access Nursing Reference Center on site at the Dana Medical Library. 

Key Components of Nursing Reference Center

  • Quick Lessons: Clinically-organized nursing overviews on diseases and conditions, designed to map the nursing work flow.
  • Evidence-based Care Sheets: evidence-based summaries on key topics, incorporating the best available evidence through rigorous, systematic surveillance.
  • Drug Information: searchable information covering trade and generic drugs, drug classes, IV therapy tips, and teaching and home care tips.
  • Patient education information, available in English and Spanish
  • Reference books:
    • Davis's Comprehensive Handbook of Laboratory & Diagnostic Tests with Nursing Implications
    • Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary
    • Davis's Drug Guide for Nurses
    • Diseases and Disorders: A Nursing Therapeutics Manual
    • AHFS Drug Information Essentials
  • Clinical Practice Guidelines: structured abstracts or summaries from the National Guideline Clearinghouse through the United States Department of Health & Human Services
  • Research instruments such as clinical assessment tools and psychological tests
  • Continuing education modules
  • Nursing news
  • Links to DynaMed, another clinical point-of-care resource from EBSCO
  • Links to nursing organizations, including the American Nurses Association and the Vermont Nurses Association.

Searching Nursing Reference Center

Nursing Reference Center can be searched either by browsing or by conducting a search on a specific topic. To browse, simply click on the desired source tab located above the search box, and scroll through the alphabetic list to locate your topic.

To conduct a search in Nursing Reference Center, select either the Basic Search tab or click on the Advanced Search link.  When performing a Basic Search, NRC searches all resources available in the database.

For example, suppose you wish to find information about the diagnosis of hypertension. From the NRC homepage (with Basic Search selected by default), enter "hypertension" in the search box. To limit the results to articles about the diagnosis of hypertension, check the Diagnosis nursing process limiter below the search box. Click Search.

A total of 110 results from various sources are displayed in separate tabs: 49 Quick Lessons, 4 Evidence-based Care Sheets, 11 Patient Education pages, 27 Guidelines, 2 Book entries, and 17 Legal Cases. If available, the default source tab is Quick Lessons. If Quick Lessons are not available for the terms searched, the All Results tab is displayed.

Results are sorted according to relevance, with options available to sort by date or title. Suggestions to narrow your results by subject heading, age, gender, or publication type are offered in the side bar on the left.

Each result is numbered and the available formats for the article are displayed  HTML Full Text, PDF Full text, etc.,

For each result, a folder icon is displayed to the far right. If you want to collect several articles, click the Add folder icon for the article. To add all items on a page to your folder, click Add (1-10) at the top of the Add column. As you add the articles to the folder, you can click the Folder link on the top of the page, and review the items that have been added.

Here is a portion of the Quick Lesson on "Hypertension and Sleep Apnea":

In addition to the Description/Etiology, this Quick Lesson includes sections on:

  • Facts & Figures
  • Risk Factors
  • Signs and Symptoms/Clinical Presentation
  • Assessment
  • Treatment Goals
  • Food for Thought
  • Red Flags
  • What do I need to tell the patient/patient's family
  • References

The NRC Advanced Search link offers many additional search capabilities. You can search on multiple terms in designated fields using the Boolean operators AND, OR, or NOT, adding up to 12 additional rows if needed. Your search can be limited to specific document types, such as Quick Lessons, Drugs, or Patient Education pages, or you can limit by publication date or source. You can view your search history by clicking on the link available from the results screen.

You can also expand your NRC Advanced Search by simultaneously searching CINAHL, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature. CINAHL indexes a wide range of literature, including nearly 3,000 journals, plus books, book chapters, web sites, and many other sources. CINAHL dates back to 1981, and contains over a million records. In NRC, you will find CINAHL results by clicking on the Journals tab.


For more information:

Nursing Reference Center includes many more features and tools than can be described in this short summary. For help with searching Nursing Reference Center or any of the other electronic resources available through Dana Medical Library, please contact a reference librarian for personalized help. We can provide on-the-spot assistance, or set up an appointment for more in-depth instruction.

  • Stop by the Dana Medical Library reference desk, Mon-Friday 10:00 am -4:00 pm.
  • Call the reference desk at 802-656-2201.
  • Send an email to a reference librarian at danaref@uvm.edu.

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