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NUR 1050

Introduction to Professional Nursing

PubMed Central

Searching PMC

PubMed Central works best by building search strings.

Phrases as Keywords

Add "quotation marks" around phrases. This tells the database to treat the phrase as one term (rather than searching for each word individually).

Truncating Search Terms

Truncation is a method that allows you to search for all variations of a word. Type the root of the word followed by an asterisk (*). For example:


will provide results for multiple keywords such as

nurse, nurses, nursing

Combining Search Terms

Use AND, OR, NOT (in uppercase characters) to combine or exclude search terms:

  • AND = will only show results that include BOTH terms

  • OR = will show results if they have at least one of the terms

  • NOT = will exclude results that use that term

To group terms together, add (parentheses). For example:

"cardiac nursing" AND ("blood pressure" OR "heart palpitations") NOT "pediatric"

This search would include results about cardiac nursing (excluding pediatric nursing) that discuss blood pressure, heart palpitations, or both.

Search Results

PMC search results page for a search of diabetes mellitus

1. Click the record title to access an article record

2. Go directly to the article in available formats such as Article View, PubReader, or PDF

3. Get a citation in APA, AMA, MLA, or NLM formats

4. Limit results by publication date or other filters

7. Save your results by sending to a file, emailing them, or other tools


Limit your search results by:

  • Publication Date
  • Author
  • Journal
  • ...or other options such as collections, funders, and licenses

Publication Date

Dates or date ranges can be added to your search string. For dates, use the format YYYY/MM/DD[pubdate]. Month and day are optional. For example:

"2020/03/15[pubdate]" or "2020/03[pubdate]" or "2020[pubdate]"

For date ranges, put a colon (:) between each date. You can also search for the last number of days, months, or years. For example:

"2020:2023[pubdate]" or "last 3 years[pubdate]"

Dates or date ranges can also be added via a filter in the search results.


Use the author's full name, last name, or last name with initials (no punctuation) as a search term. You can also add the author search field tag [au]. For example, any of these options should provide sources by John Smith:

  • John Smith
  • john smith
  • Smith J
  • smith j
  • smith[au]
  • "smith j"[au]


Enter the journal title, the NLM journal title abbreviation, or the ISSN as a search term. For example:

  • Journal of medical & clinical nursing
  • "Journal of Medical & Clinical Nursing"[journal]
  • J Med Clin Nurs
  • "J Med Clin Nurs"[journal]

Database Records & Tools

Record Pages

Article quick guide image from the PMC User Guide, showing an article record display

  1. Search bar
  2. View the article in other formats such as PubReader or PDF
  3. See the PubMed record
  4. Get formatted citation information
  5. Save to My NCBI collection (available by creating a free account)
  6. Share the article via social media or with a permanent link
  7. Similar Articles - list of articles from PubMed that use similar keywords or search terms
  8. Cited by other articles - list of articles from PubMed that cite the article you are reading
  9. Links to NCBI Databases - see relate records from other National Library of Medicine databases (some include paywalls)
  10. Data related to the article - links to data citations, data availability statements, or supplementary materials
  11. View references within the article
  12. Recent activity on PMC, such as your search history
  13. On mobile or smaller screens, the "three dot" menu provides access to similar features

Save & Email

PMC has multiple options for how to save search results:

  • Save results to file
     Choose Destination: File. Shows options for format and sort order.
  • Send results by email
    Choose Destination: Email. Shows options for format and sort order and box to type in email address.
  • Save results to Clipboard (temporary place to collect results, similar to an online shopping cart; clipboard is cleared after 8 hours of inactivity)
  • Save results to My NCBI Collections (requires creation of free account)


  • Generate citations in APA style, MLA style, AMA style, or NLM
    Citation pop up box showing citation in APA format with options to copy, download a bib file, or change the format.
  • Export citations (download .nbib) for citation management tools such as NoodleTools