Friday, October 2, 2009

Health Literacy: Finding Reliable Information Feels Great!

October is Health Literacy Month! What does that mean? Health literacy means not only understanding your own health, but knowing where to find reliable information about health and medical care. The best method of finding health-related information is to speak to your doctor or other health care professional, but if you'd also like to do research on your own, the NCC Libraries are here to help.

First, books are great sources to use when you need in-depth information. With issues related to health care, it is important that you use books that are recently published, preferably within the last five years. Because the health field changes so quickly -- there are new procedures, cures and diseases discovered every day -- it is important that your information is up-to-date. When looking for books on health, you'll want to start with basic information found in the dictionaries and encyclopedias in the "R" call number section of the Reference collection. The "R" call number range covers materials on health care, nursing, dental hygiene, and diseases of all types. Then be sure to browse the "R" aisle of the Stacks, for a broader selection of titles on specific conditions, operations, treatments and medications.

If you would like to find the most current information or locate original experiments related to drug trials, therapy and other health science topics, search for magazine and journal articles. You can do this in either of two ways.

If you don't have a specific topic in mind, and would like to browse through some journal issues to get ideas, visit the Periodicals Tower. Here is a sample of some titles we have in the health care/nursing field:

American Journal of Nursing
Family and Community Health
Journal of Professional Nursing
New England Journal of Medicine
Nutrition Today.

Once you have decided on a topic, you can search for magazine and journal articles by using our online databases. Here are some excellent databases to use for health information:

CINAHL with Full Text - EBSCOhost
A comprehensive source of full-text articles from more than 520 nursing and allied health journals, with coverage back to 1982.

Health Source: Nursing / Academic Edition - EBSCOhost
A database containing many full-text articles from journals and magazines covering various medical disciplines.

Nursing and Allied Health Source - Proquest
A database that includes many full-text articles from journals and magazines covering topics related to nursing and health.

A research tool from the National Library of Medicine. Provides access to more than 11 million citations to articles in medical and life science journals. Note: This database does not contain full text.

PubMed Central
The National Library of Medicine’s archive of life science journal literature. Most of the articles are available in full text.

Remember, if you're logging into the databases from off-campus, you'll need to enter this information when prompted for a username and password:

NCC Students:
Username is your NCC student I.D. number;
Password is the one you were assigned by the College.

NCC Faculty and Staff:
Username is your Novell login;
Password is the one that goes with that login name.

Here’s to a healthy, happy year at NCC! If you need assistance with research, please visit the Reference Desk and speak to a Librarian. You can also call us at 610-861-5359, or send an e-mail.

Illustration credit:
“Health Literacy Month promotional logo.” Health Literacy Month Web site. GIF format. 23 Sept. 2009.

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