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NURS-804: Theory Foundations for Health Care Improvement

This course provides students with the theoretical basis for the development, improvement and evaluation of healthcare practice and programs. Focus is on specific models and theories that guide healthcare professionals in practice improvement, quality car

Difference between PhD and DNP

The PhD in Nursing will remain the accepted degree for nurse scientists. A PhD in nursing prepares nurse scientists who will GENERATE EVIDENCE to guide effective and safe nursing care. Whereas, a DNP degree prepares "practice" experts who will TRANSLATE EVIDENCE into practice across a variety of patient care settings.

Key Concepts & Brainstorming

1. Identify key concepts and brainstorm search terms 

  • Break your topic, PICOT question, or clinical scenario, down into searchable keywords
  • Think of synonyms for your key concepts, or main issues.
    • Heart attack is also Myocardial Infarction
    • Tumor is also Neoplasm 
  • Use MeSH & CINAHL Headings to learn the preferred terminology for your topic.  Using the database's preferred terminology increases the success of your search.     
    • In PubMed this is called MeSH (for Medical Subject Headings) 
    • In CINHAL this is called CINAHL Headings

Select Resources & Databases

4.  Choose the right resources or databases to search

  • Consider books and e-books for background information.  
  • Articles can provide current information and answer specific questions. 
  • Use articles to find evidence for evidence-based health care.
  • PubMed (medicine) and CINAHL (nursing) are good starting points for peer-reviewed biomedical articles

Common Limiters

2.  Some elements are common limiters; you will not need to include these in your search phrase, but choose them from the side menu within the database, after your initial search is run

  • Age
    • Infant
    • Adult
    • Aged
  • Sex
    • Female
    • Male
  • Article type
    • Randomized Control Trial
    • Systematic Reviews
    • Peer Reviewed (this limit not available in Pubmed)

Use Search Tips

5.  Use search tips or Help files in your chosen database to focus your searches

  • Each database searches differently. Some use subject terms that include popular synonyms.  Others search by  keyword.
  • Look for additional subject terms and keywords on article abstract pages to help you expand or focus your search.  
  • PubMed and CINAHL have "limits"  for language, patient ages, publication types, date, and more.

Boolean Searching

Build Search Strings

3.  Build search strings using "AND," "OR," and, sometimes, "NOT"

  •  Learn more about Boolean operators
  • "AND" narrows your topic
    • childhood diabetes AND school nursing
    • leadership AND nurses
  • "OR" broadens your topic
    • heart attack OR myocardial infarction
    • tumor OR neoplasm OR cancer
  • "NOT" cancels elements out of your topic.  Use NOT sparingly and with caution; it is easy cancel out important articles.
    • sleep disorders NOT narcolepsy
    • palliative care NOT hospice   

Research with Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks