The National Library of Medicine, as part of the National Institutes of Health, prepares reliable information resources that are vetted by medical librarians for currency and accuracy. These resources also connect users to high-quality information from other NIH institutes and other organizations. This page highlights resources that will be helpful for many different aspects of work as a healthcare professional. You can also gain access to these and other resources on NLM’s Portal for Healthcare Professionals.
Resources to Get You Started
ClinicalTrials.gov - This NLM database contains information about clinical trials being conducted all around the world. This resource is helpful for answering questions from patients about new treatments for their health conditions. Users can search by the health condition or other keywords such as a drug name, and search results can also be filtered by location to find any clinical trials happening nearby. Study records also include links to related publications, including those that are available freely in PubMed.
- Find Studies - An introduction to using ClinicalTrials.gov to locate studies and find information within a study’s record in the database.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) - As part of the National Institutes of Health, the NCCIH provides information on complementary and alternative therapies and other integrative approaches to health, including:
- Clinical Practice Guidelines - Guidelines for the use of different complementary therapies for a wide range of conditions and health needs.
- NCCIH Health Topics - Encyclopedia of complementary and alternative therapies, including information on contraindications and possible interactions with conventional medical treatments. This resource also includes information on specific medical conditions and the evidence base for using complementary therapies for patients with these conditions.
MedlinePlus - MedlinePlus is an easy-to-read health encyclopedia that you can use as a patient-education tool.
- MedlinePlus exists in both English and Spanish, and includes a collection of patient resources in additional languages.
- The MedlinePlus Connect feature allows your institution to embed MedlinePlus directly into your patient portal or electronic health records.
- The Genetics section on MedlinePlus has patient-friendly information on many genetic disorders and genes that are related to health. It also has tutorials on genetics that you can use to help patients learn more about the relationship between health and genetics.
Nursing Resources for Standards and Interoperability - This resource from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) provides information on many standards and interoperability rules that help hospitals communicate clearly with each other and improve patient care across health care facilities. These standards include LOINC, SNOMED CT, Concept Unique Identifiers, and Meaningful Use standards for the use of electronic health records. These resources may be useful to nurses working with information technology staff to integrate health information systems, or those doing research that would benefit from vocabulary metadata.
EthnoMed - EthnoMed contains information about cultural factors to consider when working with patients of various cultures, nationalities and ethnicities. It includes a range of disease-specific information for health care professionals, as well as profiles of the health needs of specific ethnic groups. These resources also include information about different populations' historical experiences with Western medicine, and how these experiences inform best practices for working with patients in health care settings.
NLM Products and Services - if you don’t see a resource that fits your needs here, you can search the full collection of online resources from NLM. This search tool allows you to filter resources by topic and can connect you to databases, training materials, datasets, and more.
Databases and Tools
Bookshelf - Bookshelf provides free online access to books and documents in life science and healthcare. As an archive, Bookshelf strives to represent the range of biomedical, health, and life sciences books and resources available to users of the National Library of Medicine.
- Bookshelf contains a wide variety of graduate level textbooks, in addition to specialist research monographs, resources for university-level teaching, works on methods and procedures, and clinical reports and guidelines.
- LactMed - Also known as the Drugs and Lactation Database, LactMed is an NLM database of medications and other chemicals that can affect breastfeeding mothers and their children, housed in Bookshelf. It contains information about concentrations of these substances is breastmilk and infants' bloodstreams, and it lists alternative therapies that might be appropriate for nursing mothers.
PubMed Special Queries - These are collections of pre-made queries that health care professionals and researchers can use to more easily search PubMed. Some queries you may find especially useful include:
- The Clinical queries set
- Health services research
- Electronic health records
- Queries of the collection of nursing journals or dental journals in the NLM Catalog.
My NCBI - My NCBI is a tool that retains user information and database preferences to provide customized services for many NCBI databases. With a My NCBI account, you can:
- Save searches, select display formats and filtering options.
- Receive alerts when new articles appear in PubMed related to topics you’re interested in. By setting up a subscription to new search results to a query that you develop, you can easily stay up-to-date on emerging biomedical publications while working on your own research.
- Save your citations and manage peer-reviewed article compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy using My Bibliography.
- Create online professional profiles with SciENcv.
- Set up Outside Tool preferences for PubMed.
Drug Information Tools
DailyMed - DailyMed is an NLM database containing over 100,000 medication labels that drug companies have submitted to the FDA. This resource helps both health care professionals and patients to locate dosing instructions, potential side effects, contraindications, and more about patients' medications.
PubChem - PubChem is the world's largest collection of freely accessible chemical information. You can search chemicals by name, molecular formula, structure, and other identifiers, and find chemical and physical properties, biological activities, safety and toxicity information, patents, literature citations and more. PubChem may be especially useful to pharmacists and pharmacy researchers to find information relevant to drug interactions.
NLM maintains resources related to genetic health, including information on genetic tests.
Genetic Testing Registry - A tool that allows people to search for information on genetic tests. You can use it to identify relevant tests for a condition that you are treating or researching. It also contains information about the test’s validity and evidence of its usefulness.
ClinVar - A database of human genetic variations and their clinical significance. ClinVar is useful if you are involved in research on genetic components of diseases.
MedGen - A tool that compiles information on genetic health conditions from multiple sources, including the Genetic Testing Registry. MedGen pages also contain links to clinical guidance and recent clinical studies related to the condition. This resources is helpful for health care providers and researchers looking for current information on the diagnosis, management, and prognosis of genetic health conditions.
MedlinePlus Genetics - This site contains patient-friendly information on many genetic disorders and genes that are related to health. It also has tutorials on genetics that you can use to help patients learn more about the relationship between health and genetics.
Using PubMed in Evidence-based Practice
Supported by the National Library of Medicine, Using PubMed in Evidence-based Practice is a free online course that will show you how to use evidence-based practice when searching clinical questions using PubMed. Lessons include how to accurately and precisely describe clinical questions using PICO (patient/problem, intervention, comparison, outcome), convert research questions into search terms, utilize Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), use appropriate filters and clinical queries, find full text articles, and more. Although this course does not offer continuing education, it is highly recommended for PubMed users and should take less than 30 minutes to complete.
More PubMed Online Training
Looking for more on PubMed? NLM and NNLM offer a wide variety of tutorials, classes and handouts for using PubMed. These trainings include tutorials for using PubMed as a tool for key parts of health care and biomedical research, such as:
CME/CEU lectures from NCCIH
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health offers a series of free recorded lectures designed for physicians, nurses, and other allied health professionals. These hour-long lectures can help health care professionals develop their knowledge of many different topics related to complementary and integrative health. Each lecture is approved for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit and 1 Nursing contact hour, totaling 10 credits/hours for the entire series. Each lecture includes a post-test that must be completed with at least 70% accuracy to receive credit.
Physician’s Practical Guide to culturally competent care
Supported by the HHS Office of Minority Health, the physician’s practical guide to culturally competent care is an e-learning program intended to support the delivery of culturally and linguistically competent services (CLAS) in health and healthcare. This program is designed to equip physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners with the knowledge, skills and awareness to best serve all patients, regardless of cultural or linguistic background. The program is divided into three courses, covering the fundamentals of CLAS, communication and language assistance, and organizational CLAS-related activities. Participants are also eligible for a variety of continuing education, depending on their specialty:
- Physicians are eligible for 9 AMA PRA Category 1 credits
- Family Practice Physicians are eligible for 9 elective credits by the AAFP
- Physician Assistants are eligible for 9 hours of AAPA Category 1 CME credits
- Nurse practitioners are eligible for 9 contact hours of CE by the AANP
Nursing Experts: Translating the Evidence (NExT)
Supported by the University of Illinois at Chicago with funding from the Network of the National Library of Medicine, NExT is a portal to learning about evidence-based practice and EBP resources. NExT also offers two free online courses, related to their specific paths: