CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature)

CINAHL or The Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health provides comprehensive coverage of the English language literature in nursing and allied health. Some of the allied health fields include audiology, cardiopulmonary technology, emergency services, health information management, nutrition and dietetics, occupational and physical therapy, social service in health care, speech language pathology, and surgical technology.  

The University library subscribes to CINAHL Plus with Full Text from the EBSCO company. This version provides (1) indexing for over 4,300 journals (2) full text for more than 760 journals (3) full text for 260 books/monographs, (4) more than 2,000,000 records dating back to 1981.  In addition this database offers access to dissertations, selected conference proceedings, standards of practice, educational software, audiovisual programs and book chapters.  The database also has continuing education modules, research instrument records, and full-text evidence-based care sheets

  1. There is a direct Library Catalog link allowing you to locate a journal in the UT Library--the Findit@UT icon.
  2. If you wish to search using CINAHL and subject headings, you should click the "CINAHL Headings" link, located in blue at the top of the page.
  3. Click on "Choose Databases" in order to search other EBSCO databases such as Academic Search Premier or Business Source Premier or several EBSCO databases at once.

Subject Headings in CINAHL

CINAHL, like MEDLINE, uses a controlled vocabulary (thesaurus) or subject headings to index their citations.  These headings were developed to reflect the terminology used by nursing and the allied health fields.  Indexers, who are usually subject experts, read or scan the journal articles that are to be indexed in CINAHL and assign specific terms from the thesarus to identify the article.  CINAHL subject headings follow the structure of MeSH or the medical subject headings used in MEDLINE.

Example of a citation in CINAHL with subject headings


Home visiting for intervention delivery to improve rural family asthma management


Horner SD


The University of Texas at Austin, School of Nursing


Journal of Community Health Nursing

Pub. Type:

journal article - clinical trial, research, tables/charts

Major Subjects:

  • Asthma -- prevention and control
  • Home visits -- in infancy and childhood
  • Self Care -- in infancy and childhood

Minor Subjects:

  • Absenteeism
  • Asthma -- education
  • Child
  • Descriptive Statistisc
  • Safety
  • Parents -- education
  • Rural areas


The focus of this article is on the use of home visits in an asthma self-management intervention study with rural families who have a school-aged child with asthma. The study design involved randomization of the sample by elementary schools, then baseline (pretest) and postintervention data collection.(1) The purpose of this article is to describe challenges with, and pose solutions for, implementing home visits for asthma self-management in rural areas. Home visiting is a strategy for program delivery that takes advantage of the home context for tailoring services to address the family's individual needs. The advantages of intervening in the home include being able to (a) use actual home conditions for individualizing the asthma education to meet families' needs; (b) match home visitors with family in terms of ethnicity and language; (c) retain a high percentage of families over the year-long duration of the study; and (d) not add to family burden of managing asthma.

Looking at the subject headings gives you an idea of what the article is about and can help you choose other terms to use for searching.

CINAHL Company Link

CINAHL is owned and operated by EBSCO Publishing, with the CINAHL editorial team continuing to work out of the offices in Glendale, California.

Can go here and get a list of the journals that are indexed. Look under Title Lists and find CINAHL.

CINAHL Versus PubMed

CINAHL goes back to 1937

PubMed goes back to 1948

CINAHL is nursing and allied health. Indexes some journals not in PubMed. 4300 journals

PubMed is comprehensive coverage of biomedical journal literature. 5400 journals

CINAHL also indexes some books, book chapters, dissertations and audiovisual materials. 

PubMed indexes biomedical journals.

Both CINAHL and PubMed use subject headings to describe the content of the materials they index.  In Cinahl these terms are called CINAHL subject headings. In PubMed they are called MeSH.  In many cases these headings are the same, but not always.  CINAHL uses some unique terms that apply to nursing and allied health.

PubMed offers access to journal articles that have not yet been published. CINAHL has pre-CINAHL which is the same.

PubMed is much larger; has over 19 million citations.

CINAHL has more than 2,7 million citations dating from 1981.