1. Carlson, Elizabeth A.

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Virginia Henderson International Nursing Library

The VHINL through STTI was conceived of in 1979 and became a reality in 1990. The library link is located on the bottom right of the STTI home page ( The purpose for this library is "to offer nurses, in all roles around the world, online access to reliable nursing information that can be easily utilized and shared" (retrieved March 29, 2010, from


It is not necessary to be a member of STTI to have access to the materials available through the VHINL. The VHINL offers free registration and subsequent access to the majority of the content. The VHINL enables individuals to search the so-called "fugitive" literature of nursing: study abstracts, unpublished studies, ongoing studies, dissertations, doctor of nursing practice project reports, and conference abstracts. Information provided by these sources is valuable and useable but not commonly accessible via traditional libraries or searches.


The Registry of Nursing Research database allows access to research abstracts and conference abstracts. Searching the abstracts provides access to ongoing or completed research that has been posted by nurse researchers or collected from other nursing organizations. Abstracts may include the following: research studies, conference presentations, practice innovations, and/or evidence-based projects. Should you want more information on a particular posting, contact information for the person who posted the content is available.


A page "How to Use this Website" gives clear instructions on how to search the VHINL using different approaches for either the research or conference abstracts. In addition, the advanced search capabilities detained under "Additional Search How-To's" assist in targeting your search thus allowing a more efficient search. This page also has the link to "How to Submit or Edit a Study." The instructions on submitting and editing a study are clear and easy to follow.


In addition to the nontraditional content, the VHINL provides access to the following materials: Sample Journal of Nursing Science (JNS), Sample Worldviews, Book Reviews, Multilingual Journals, Presentations, and Free Online CNE. The links to these resources are located on the left side of the homepage. Content and links are added as new categories of materials come into existence.


As I discovered in using the VHINL, all registered users have access to the "Sample Journal of Nursing Science." If you are a member of STTI, your e-mail is recognized on the publisher's site when you are redirected there, and you are given permission to have complete access to all issues and all volumes of the JNS. Library site registrants, however, who are not honor society members, can access only the complete articles appearing in the first issue of the new volume of the JNS each year. This limited access was given to nonmembers for the first time last year, and they can also access the first issues of the JNS published in 2009 and 2010 (M. Wilson, personal communication, 2010).


As a side note, I found one of the interesting aspects of this library to be the woman for whom it was named. Virginia Henderson (1897-1996) has been described as the first lady of nursing. Her definition of nursing from her book in 1966 is considered internationally as the statement of who we are as nurses.


The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge. (Henderson, 1966, p. 15)


Miss Henderson (and she was Miss never Ms.) was influential in many ways. Her influence shifted nursing research away from studying nurses to studying the impact of nurses in people's lives. She also captured the intellectual history of nursing between 1900 and 1960 in the Nursing Studies Index. Miss Henderson permitted the use of her name for the online library only if the system would "advance the work of staff nurses by getting to them current and jargon-free information wherever they were based" (retrieved March 29, 2010, from


As I have accessed the resources available through the VHINL, I find myself thinking that Miss Henderson would be pleased and encouraged regarding the state of nursing as it has developed and become more sophisticated.


Interagency Council on Information Resources in Nursing

The VHINL provides links to other content related to nursing but not part of the library. Under the Announcements section, one such link is the Interagency Council on Information Resources in Nursing (ICIRN).


Apparently, Virginia Henderson is an icon when it comes to nursing and the value of information. Miss Henderson is pictured on the home page of the ICIRN in the 1980s at a council meeting where she is credited as instrumental in bringing nurses and librarians together. The ICIRN was established to "create an effective system of information resources in nursing to advance the profession through the promotion and use of its literature" (retrieved on April 8, 2010, from


To this end, the ICIRN produces the Essential Nursing Resources (ENR), which is currently in its 25th edition. It is published biennially, the 25th edition completed in 2009. The ENR is available The ENR is presented as another resource for locating nursing information. The ENR has a similar yet broader focus for what is available in the listing. Perusing the ENR, I saw a seemingly comprehensive listing of print and electronic resources that support the areas of nursing practice, education, administration, and research. The ENR was "complied to point to pathways for exploration, rather than be an end point, and to expand to other formats beyond traditional references" (retrieved April 7, 2010, from


Examples of what can be located via the ENR include: meta sites for nursing resources, alerting services/ blogs/RSS feeds, bioethics, bibliographies, complementary and alternative medicine, databases, cultural competencies, dictionaries, education and careers, grant resources, history of nursing and archives, and several others. The site is an excellent place to begin a search for information especially if the data you seek may not be located in traditional sources such as a library.


Nursing and Allied Health Resources Section

I found the Nursing and Allied Health Resources Section (NAHRS) of the Medical Library Association via Google (retrieved April 8, 2010, from The Web site of origin (retrieved April 8, 2010, from for the NAHRS did not as readily point me to the great resources they have available. You must select Resources and then select Resources Wiki, which is not intuitively the link I would select when looking for the resource listing. The resources found via this site include databases, electronic books, electronic journals, and Web sites related to nursing and allied health disciplines. Some resources are free, with those for which there is a charge marked with $$.


Although there is overlap in resources with ENR and the VHINL, there are resources on this site that are unique and fun to explore. One is titled PowerPoint slides and when selected the PowerPoint is about how to tell if the author of an article is a nurse. A librarian walks you through how to learn about the article's author. This PowerPoint is directed toward students or persons new to literature searches and is very easy to understand and replicate. The link I found the most interesting and fun to explore is titled "We've Always Done It This Way!!" The content was a result of an e-mail in answer to a question from a nursing librarian. It is a list of published articles on nursing practice that are still in use today "because we've always done it this way" although contradicted by the evidence. Because the site is a Wiki, meaning that it can be edited by the users, you may have something to contribute which will assist other nurses in practice improvement.


All 3 Web sites offer resources for nurses that will assist in nursing practice, education, administration, and research. There are numerous Web sites available to nurses but a key advantage these 3 sites have is the trustworthy nature of the content. These 3 sites are well vetted and reviewed by experts in nursing, thus giving the content they recommend credibility. As evidence informs current nursing practice, reliable and credible Web sites are needed to enable nurses' access to the necessary information.




Henderson V (1966). The nature of nursing. New York: Macmillan Publishing. Retrieved April 5, 2010, from[Context Link]