1. Ortelli, Tracy A. PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF


Free, evidence-based resources for health care providers, patients, and consumers.


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The National Library of Medicine (NLM)-the world's largest biomedical library-offers both print and electronic resources on a wide range of health-related topics to health care providers, researchers, patients, and consumers. Founded in 1836 and headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, the NLM is under the aegis of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health.1 In 2016, Patricia Flatley Brennan, PhD, RN, was named NLM director, becoming the first woman and the first nurse to hold the position.2


Among the vast resources made available by the NLM, the following can help nurses increase their knowledge as well as educate patients, families, and the public.



Digital Collections


A searchable repository of historical biomedical resources, including texts, films, and images. Users can search by subject, author, title, format, and genre, and can also discover and "pin" images on the NLM's Pinterest page (




Mobile site:


A database of more than 29 million citations of the biomedical literature from MEDLINE, journals, and online books. Access to articles varies by publisher.


PubMed for Handhelds


A mobile website and app that provides search tools to bring medical information to the point of care. Available via iTunes (iOS) and Google Play (Android).


PubMed for Nurses


A set of five video tutorials teaches nurses how to search the literature, apply filters, ask clinical queries, save searches, and create alerts in PubMed.





A database of up-to-date information on more than 108,000 drugs. Users can search by drug name, drug class, or national drug code to access data from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) drug labeling. This mobile-optimized website also links to other resources, including:


[middle dot] MedWatch Voluntary Reporting Form


Users can report observed or suspected adverse effects for prescription or over-the-counter medicines, biologics, medical devices, special nutritional products, cosmetics, and foods or beverages.


[middle dot] Recalls, Market Withdrawals, and Safety Alerts


A database of information about recalls of FDA-regulated products.


[middle dot] LactMed


Users can search for information about drugs, herbal and dietary supplements, and chemicals to which breastfeeding mothers may be exposed, plus their possible adverse effects on nursing infants. Available via iTunes (iOS) and Google Play (Android).


Dietary Supplement Label Database


A database of label information for dietary supplement products, including vitamins, minerals, herbs, and botanicals.


Drug Information Portal


This portal provides access to drug information from the NLM and other federal agencies, as well as links to general drug resources and news.


Drug Information for the Public


A site for consumers with information on safe -medication use, drug types, clinical trials, Medicare prescription plans, and buying medications online. Information is also available in Spanish.


HerbList App


An app containing research-based information on more than 50 herbal products marketed for health purposes. Available via iTunes (iOS) and Google Play (Android).




A search engine that enables users to visually identify unknown pills by name, imprint, shape, color, and inactive ingredient. Drug labels and drug information are also provided.


Searching Drugs or Chemicals in PubMed


A tutorial on how to effectively search PubMed for information on drugs, chemicals, and other substances.





A mobile-optimized site with information on the latest federally approved HIV-AIDS treatment guidelines, FDA-approved drugs (and investigational drugs), clinical trials, and research. In addition, three free apps-AIDSinfo Guidelines, AIDSinfo Drug Database, and AIDSinfo Glossary-are available via iTunes (iOS) and Google Play (Android).




A comprehensive resource offering high-quality, accurate, and timely HIV-AIDS information in multiple languages.


A database of privately and publicly funded clinical research studies conducted worldwide.


Genetics Home Reference


A consumer-friendly site with data on more than 1,200 genetic conditions-including their signs, symptoms, and causes.




A collection of culturally relevant information on health conditions and wellness topics in many languages and formats.


MedlinePlus and


Free, up-to-date, reliable consumer health resources, including:


[middle dot] Health Topics


Information on the symptoms, causes, treatment, and prevention of more than 1,000 diseases and conditions; includes health and wellness issues.


[middle dot] Drugs, Herbs, and Supplements


Information about prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements, and herbal remedies.


[middle dot] Videos and Tools


Videos on a variety of health topics, plus tools to check your health and interactive health games.


[middle dot] Medical Tests


A site explaining how laboratory tests are conducted and what results may mean.


[middle dot] Medical Encyclopedia


A repository of more than 4,000 articles on diseases, symptoms, injuries, and surgeries, as well as medical photographs and illustrations.


Multicultural Resources for Health Information


A site that provides a comprehensive list of resources for addressing the cultural and linguistic needs of diverse individuals and communities.



For other resources offered by the NLM, visit the NLM Learning Resources Database at . You can search by keyword, subject, and date to access helpful educational training videos, tutorials, and webinars. To connect with the NLM on social media and to subscribe to its e-mail news updates or RSS feeds, visit .




1. U.S. National Library of Medicine. About the National Library of Medicine. 2018. . [Context Link]


2. [no author.] NIH announces new NLM director. NLM in Focus 2016 May 11. . [Context Link]