Nursing Reference Center Plus: An Evidence-Based, Clinical Point of Care Tool… and More
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Jodi Jameson, MLIS, AHIP
Nursing Librarian and Assistant Professor
Mulford Health Science Library
The University of Toledo


For busy nurses who need rapid access to the best evidence, Nursing Reference Center Plus (NRCP) from EBSCO Health is a streamlined and efficient database for use at the point of care. It provides an all-in-one search interface for locating information from a variety of resources on a wide range of nursing and healthcare topics.


NRCP provides access to content which meets a variety of nursing information needs for the purposes of research, evidence-based practice, patient care, learning, continuing education, management and patient education. Search results can be filtered to desired content and material type.

Journal Articles. NRCP can be used to locate the latest evidence from research studies, systematic reviews, case reports, and clinical practice guidelines published in professional journals. The CINAHL index is conveniently integrated into NRCP, providing seamless access to article citations and abstracts from the nursing and allied health literature. Full-text access to articles in PDF format is included if an institution already has a standing subscription to CINAHL. Although the MEDLINE index is not automatically included in NRCP, it will be integrated if an institution has a subscription via EBSCO.

Ebooks. For background information on laboratory tests, diseases and conditions, care plans and diagnosis, NRCP provides full-text ebook access to a select number of reference titles published by F.A. Davis. If an institution subscribes to additional EBSCO ebooks, these titles will be integrated into a user’s search results.

Evidence-Based Care Sheets. Accessing preappraised, filtered evidence can be a major timesaver for nurses needing answers to clinical questions at the patient bedside. Over 1,700 Evidence-Based Care Sheets are available in NRCP in full-text PDF format. They provide summaries of the latest relevant evidence on diseases and conditions, nursing interventions, the nursing process, professional nursing issues, culturally competent care, nursing theory, leadership, management, and more. Evidence is reviewed and summarized according to a 7-Step Evidence-Based Methodology and Protocol. Evidence is rated using a coding matrix for strength.

Research Instruments. Nurses conducting original research studies or quality improvement projects often need to use validated instruments, tools, scales, and questionnaires. Nursing students, especially those at the graduate level, also need to use these for research assignments or capstone projects. Over 500 records about research instruments are included in NRCP (based on a recent search). They provide information about individual validated research instruments including purpose and variables measured, sample population, methodology, and instrument type. Details are provided on how or where to obtain the full instrument.

Nursing Skills with Videos. Nearly 1,500 Nursing Practice & Skill Sheets in NRCP contain succinct yet detailed information on current best practices for nursing care grounded in the latest evidence. They also include “red flags” for nurses to look out for to prevent adverse events and promote patient safety and quality of care. Over 300 skill sheets are embedded with videos. Overall, NRCP includes over 680 individual videos. Videos are under three minutes on average and demonstrate live simulations of nursing skills. Nursing skill sheets and videos in NRCP have great applicability as learning tools for nursing students in the classroom or clinical setting.

Quick Lessons. Over 2,800 Quick Lessons are included in NRCP. These primarily provide information on diseases and conditions within a clinical context and are integrated with research evidence. Quick lessons on legal issues of relevance to nurses are also included.

Skill Competency Checklists. Nurse educators will find great value in the nearly 3,000 Skill Competency Checklists that are available in NRCP. These provide detailed information on competency areas for various nursing skills, and include fields that the educator can check off when the standard has been met. These checklists could also be used by nurse preceptors working with nursing students during clinical education.

Care Plans. 50 nursing care plans are available in NRCP and are one of the more recent content additions to the database. These can be downloaded and printed for nurses to adapt and use in patient care settings.

CE Modules. NRCP also serves as a mechanism in support of nurses’ continuing education needs. Over 2,600 free CE modules are available from CINAHL Information Systems, an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Patient Education Handouts. Patient education is a key nursing intervention to improve care outcomes. Over 8,000 written patient education handouts, in English and Spanish, are available in PDF format for easy printing and downloading.

Aside from journal articles and ebooks, all content in NRCP is produced by CINAHL Information Systems. While certain versions of the CINAHL database already include a select number of Evidence-Based Care Sheets, Quick Lessons, Nursing Skills and CE Modules, NRCP provides a significantly greater number of these materials in comparison. Videos and full-text Care Plans are exclusive to NRCP.

Features and Functionality

Basic and Advanced Searching. To facilitate quick access to needed information, NRCP has an intuitive interface with a single search box. When a user begins typing keywords, the search box autopopulates with suggested terminology. Tabs are located at the top of the search box, allowing the user to focus a search on specific content within the database including All Areas; Diseases; Skills; Drugs; Management; Continuing Ed; Patient Ed; or Books. The advanced search option provides limits and filters to further focus the search. NRCP supports standard database search techniques, including Boolean logic, phrase searching, nested searching, wildcards and truncation. Upon retrieving one’s search results, several limits appear on the left side of the page. Material type limits will restrict search results to specified content.

Storing and Managing Search Results. NRCP includes all of the standard tools that users of EBSCO products are familiar with, including storing items to a folder where one can print, email, save, or export citations. Users can create a personalized account to organize research or log in with an existing MyEBSCOhost account. Email alerts can be set up quickly and easily with or without a personalized account.

Mobile App. Nurses needing evidence on-the-go can download the NRC Plus Mobile App. Selected content from NRCP is available with the iPhone and Android-compatible application.

Business Model

NRCP is available via institutional subscription. Pricing is based on bed count for hospitals and FTE for colleges and universities. Institutions with a subscription to NRCP do not pay a separate add-on fee for access to the mobile app.


NRCP has great value for staff nurses in direct patient care settings. It is equally valuable as a learning tool and reference resource for nursing students at all levels, as well as nurses needing to further their continuing education. Nurse managers and staff educators will also benefit from its content and features.


EBSCO Health. Differences between versions of CINAHL on EBSCOhost. Retrieved from

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