Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Nursing History: Finding Articles

Search Terms

The most basic search terms you could start with are:

Nurs* AND Histor*

(The asterisks get us different forms of the same word: nurse, nurses, nursing - history, historical, etc)

You may get some good results with those terms. However, articles are usually on a much more specific topic, such as a certain era or a certain historical figure in nursing. Pick an era or a figure you are interested in researching and change your search terms to match that topic.

Some examples:

"Lavinia Lloyd Dock" (the quotation marks make sure you get her whole name in your results and cuts out articles about someone else named Lavinia)

Nurs* AND civil war

Portrait of a Leader series

Dr. Teresa E. Christy wrote a series of "Portrait of a Leader" articles for Nursing Outlook in 1969-1970. Dr. Christy was a founder and the first president of the International History of Nursing Society, which was later renamed the American Association for the History of Nursing. 

Lightner Library has Nursing Outlook in print. If you would like copies of the "Portrait of a Leader" articles, please contact ASAP Librarian, Melodye Campbell and she will e-mail you the article.

There are articles about the following historical figures in nursing:

  • Lavinia Lloyd Dock
  • Annie Warburton Goodrich
  • M. Adelaide Nutting
  • Sophia F. Palmer
  • Isabel Hampton Robb
  • Isabel Maitland Stewart
  • Lillian D. Wald



In 2012, JSTOR made public domain content freely available to the public; this includes 500,000 documents from over 200 journals that were published before 1923 in the United States. You will have great success using JSTOR for topics from 1923 and earlier. 

Click on the link below and be sure to check the box Include only content I can access to search for the full-text articles that are free.

Article Databases

For finding scholarly journal articles, our most popular databases are EBSCOHost and ProQuest. The two text boxes below give the basics of using these two databases. 

For historical topics, students have been more successful using Proquest than EBSCO, so we recommend that you start by searching Proquest.

Encyclopedia Articles in Databases

The Gale Virtual Reference Library is your go-to source for encyclopedia articles on nursing history. See the list below for a few highlighted encyclopedias in the GVRL collection which could be useful to you.


EBSCOHost is a collection of 20 different research databases with full text of over 10,000 publications. 

Some of the databases in the collection that you will find helpful are:

  • Academic Search Premier is first on the list and is quite extensive. It covers social sciences, education, computer sciences, engineering, medicine, social work and more.
  • CINAHL with Full-text is one of the most authoritative databases for nursing.
  • Health Source: Nursing Academic Edition gives you access to over 550 scholarly full-text nursing journals.

The important thing to remember is to Check the Full Text Box when you do a search. This will give you results in html full text or pdf full text. For research articles from scholarly journals, remember to check the box for Scholarly (peer reviewed) journals.

What are your options once you've found the perfect article? Take a look at the icons across the top of the results page: you can print out the article, e-mail it to yourself or save it to your computer hard drive or a flash drive.

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Linda Park
(315) 279-5208