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Ohio University

Online Nursing Programs (RN-BSN, MSN, DNP)

This guide contains helpful information for those students enrolled in online nursing programs at Ohio University.

Welcome to the Online Nursing Guide!

The Nursing Student Knowledge Center is the central point for all RN-to-BSN course information and is designed to help you succeed. It includes links to: Ordering books, Financial aid, Tech support, Course offerings, Forms and resources, and much, much more

This research guide is designed especially for students online nursing programs. Information posted here will be aimed at answering the most frequent questions the library gets from you! This means you should check here first if you get stuck doing research for an assignment.  Of course, no guide can answer all your questions, so feel free to contact a reference librarian noted in the Contact/Need Help? page or your Health Sciences Librarian, Hanna Schmillen, directly; you can find her contact information in the box to the bottom left.

Answers to common nursing questions


Your assignment is asking you to find health information from credible sources that support nurses awareness and care for a group, culture, ethnicity, etc. The group, culture, or ethnicity should not be one that you identify with. 

Some of what you have to cover within the scope of nursing and healthcare:

  • The ethnic group’s perception of communication, perception of space, perception of social organization, perception of time, and perception of environmental control.

  • Finally, any biological variations of that ethnic group (for example, sickle cell anemia in African Americans or people of Mediterranean descent)

Note: You are not going to find all of this in one article/resource, most likely... You will have to search different places, in different ways, to include all of these topics. You need peer-reviewed and credible resources (articles and evidence-based books).

Places to search:

Two best options of how to search: (Tip- NO FULL SENTENCES!)

  1. Search for your group (i.e. Chinese) AND topic (i.e. communication) AND (perception OR culture OR tradition)

    • It will look like this: Chinese AND communication AND (perception OR culture OR tradition)

    • Do this for each topic you need to cover and you will have less results, but will have to run a search more.

  2. Search more broadly for just your group and perception topic, as seen above. You will have more results and more sifting to do, but less searches ran.

Wanting to find information on current legislation in your state and connect it to the nursing practice? Then searching CINAHL or other nursing-focused research databases is NOT your first step, but your last.

  1. You need to look to your state's legislative webpage. Here is The Ohio Legislature Page and there is even an option to search current legislation by topic here. Each state will have their own, unique website and can be found with a Google search.
  2. You can also explore in one of our legal research databases, Nexis Uni, for more information on the law/policy/etc.
  3. Consider looking to some nursing professional organizations to see what they are talking about in relation to the topic.
    • Are they lobbying? What is their stance on the law/policy/etc.?
  4. Searching CINAHL or ProQuest Nursing (library research databases) will give you results about how nurses can should/can address legislation. In these resources, you may even find some of those professional organization stances and information.
Need some help citing state legislation in APA? See these resources below for examples. Each state's citation will be a little different because each state's legal system operates slightly differently.
First, what is it?
  • Nursing Scope of Practice refers to how your state defines the profession by law. It's most likely listed under the Board of Nursing for your state.
Great, how do I find it?
  • I would suggest a smart Google search or simply going to your state's legislative website and do a search for: nursing practice. 
  • Smart Google Search--> (Kentucky AND (nursing practice))
    • Only searching websites that end in .gov (government websites) for Kentucky AND nursing practice.
  • If you need peer-reviewed articles about your state and its nursing scope of practice, search ArticlesPlus (the default search on the library's homepage) for your state and nursing practice. For this assignment be SURE you need peer-review articles because government documents will be the best place to find this information.
Where do I get help from the OU Writing Center? Through eTutoring!

You can also check out the blog from the Purdue Writing Lab: Writing as a Professional Nurse

With topics such as these, it can be helpful to think about what those differences are before you do an article search. And if you are unsure of what those could be, then this is where Google can be helpful; in the brainstorming process.

Possible differences:

  • Community nursing focuses on outreach, advocacy, health education, domestic violence, child development, self-care, and policy change. This is more proactive work for the whole community, not just one patient. They can also be school nurses.
  • Hospital nurses can be more specialized by their unit within their work. The work is more reactionary like the E.R. or office visits. These nurses tend to work with people one-on-one and think about individual patient education.

You will probably not find recently published research article that describes the differences between the two. You may have to find a couple articles on each one individually, then demonstrate the differences in your writing.

So for community nursing, I may search like this in CINAHL: (community OR public) AND (nurse OR nursing) AND (outreach OR advocacy)

Hospital nursing, I may search in CINAHL: (hospital OR clinic) AND (nurse OR nursing) AND (emergency OR ER)

Question: Where do I go to find evaluation tools for nursing?

Answer: A couple places and ways! Finding assessment tools can be tricky because many are not free.

Plan A: We do have a couple resources (databases) to check out listed on our Tests and Measures Guide.

Plan B: Some nursing and health professions professional organizations have evaluation and assessment tools (not always free), such as the QSEN Institute and The International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning.

Plan C: Look at studies to see if they include their pre and post tests or surveys in their article. You can contact authors as well, if you find one that looks super promising.

--> This means you will have to run a search in a database (perhaps CINAHL or ProQuest Nursing and Allied Health). TIP: Search for your topic and then AND (assessment tool OR evaluation tool)

Looking for articles that are evidence-based on your topic! This link will take you to a search template in CINAHL. All you need to do is type in your topic in the second line and search!

The general format is as follows:

Author, A. A. [Screen name]. (year, month day). Title of video [Video]. YouTube. http://xxxxx

Sometimes you will not have an author, just a screen name and that's fine. If that is the case then do not put the screen name in brackets, but instead use that as the author.

[Video] you will leave as is. You do not need to say if it's an MP3 or other media type.

The URL can vary. Double check with your professor if you should use the Blackboard URL or a more accessible link.

Topic example: Diversity in the nursing workforce

1. Pick out your main concepts: Diversity - nursing - workforce

2. Run a search using AND/OR and see what happens! I suggest using ArticlesPlus or CINAHL.(click to see my results)

ArticlesPlus is VERY multidisciplinary, so you will get A LOT of results, but you will see different aspects. CINAHL is specific to nursing and allied health, so you get less, more specific results. So one way to narrow your search would be to choose a more subject-appropriate place to search.   

3. If you do not like the results you see, think about the words you are searching. Is the word 'workforce' the only way to describe the concept? Nope! What about: hospital - work - nursing home - health industry? Diversity could be described in other ways as well: diverse, ethnic diversity; cultural diversity, etc. This is when you start to ask yourself questions. What workforce am I most interested in? What kind of diversity? What outcomes am I looking for in my search?

For example, lets say I am actually more interested in ethnic diversity among hospital staff, specifically nurses. So I am going to search CINAHL with a different search (click to see search and results)

I went from over 350 results to 50 results and some of the first couple articles look great!

Getting full text from any library database. This example if from CINAHL. Just becase there is not a PDF link right underneath the article title, does not mean we do not have access.

Citing raw data is now way more clear in the 7th edition of APA, now published!

Reference Example w/ DOI:

National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). Fast Response Survey System (FRSS): Teachers' use of educational technology in U.S. public schools, 2009 (ICPSR 35531; Version V3) [Data set and code book].

Reference Example w/out DOI:

Pew Research Center. (2018). American trends panel Wave 26 [Data set]. 

In-text Citation Options:

1. "U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies (2013)"

2. "(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies, 2013)." 

Of course, if you cite that a number of times, you’ll probably want to abbreviate the author name.

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