Education in the Health Professions

Materials for teaching and research in the medical education field.

Controlled Vocabulary Terms

When articles are added to specialized academic databases, they are filed to different subject headings. This helps searchers find articles even when a specific keyword does not appear in the title or abstract of that article.

An Example of how Different Databases Index the Same Article



Validating a Simulated Emergency Course for Nurses Working in ENT

Pubmed Link

Objectives: Nurses are increasingly providing routine and emergency ENT care; yet there are often limited training opportunities. The aim of this study was to validate an intensive 1-day ENT emergency simulation course for nurses.
Methods: The course included short lectures, practical skills stations and mannequin simulation scenarios. Sixteen nurse participants were video-recorded managing simulated scenarios before and after the course. Two assessors scored individual participant performance on a 15-point competency grid (maximum score 30), blinded to the timing of the recording. Participants also rated their confidence and skill before and immediately following the course across 11 items using a 5-point Likert score (maximum score 55).
Results: Blinded assessor ratings for performance were significantly improved after the course compared to baseline (overall score 12 vs 7, respectively; P =.015). There was strong assessor inter-rater reliability (R = 0.965). Self-rated skills and confidence also increased following the course (46.7 vs 24.4 at baseline; P <.01).
Conclusion: Simulation-based training is an effective and desirable method of teaching ENT emergency management to nurses, with greatest impact on participant confidence. Future courses need to refine the content and increase the validation sample size using a nurse-specific scoring system.

This record has been added to CINAHL, Medline, and Embase. Each database has indexed the article, tagging it with the appropriate terms from the controlled vocabulary.

Subject Headings from Different Databases

CINAHL- 13 Terms EMBASE- 34  PUBMED- 6 
  Clinical competence Clinical Comptence
Interrater reliability Interrater reliability Reproducibility
Simulations Simulation training Simulation Training
Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nurses Nursing staff Nurses
curriculum  Medical education education, medical,graduate
human human humans
Skill acquisition surgical training
Course content course content
nursing skills nursing competence
Emergency nurses emergency care
Outcomes of education
Summated Rating Scaling



advanced trauma life support
clinical article
controlled study
flexible nasal endoscopy
nurse training
peritonsillar abscess
postoperative hemorrhage


Notice that different specialized databases have different strengths. For instance, because CINAHL is a specialized database for nursing and allied health research, it often uses specific terms for different types of nurses, such as Emergency Nurses and Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nurses.

Also notice that Embase has the tagged the most terms to the article, and included many terms for different procedures, devices, and article types that CINAHL and Pubmed did not include. The full text of an article is reviewed as part of the indexing process in Embase. This means terms like "Advanced Trauma Life Support" can appear in the indexing without being mentioned in the abstract.

If a researcher wants to review "using simulation to increase clinical competence for nurses", they will want to find this article. While the phrase "15-point competency grid" does appear in the abstract, the exact phrase "clinical competence" does not. If a researcher is not aware of the indexing, they might fail to capture this article in their search.