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Most hospitals will have a Library or Education centre that you are able to join as a member of staff or student in the NHS.  But as with most libraries the print collection is only the tip of the iceberg and most of the "library" is online via the NHS knowledge and library hub. This hub is is freely available for searching but you will need to log in to access all the resources and the full-text. To do this you will need an OpenAthens account.

These are the resources that you will have access to in your professional career so it is a good idea to get familiar with them now.



The NHS uses OpenAthens to provide access to its electronic resources.  This is different to the University which uses something called Shibboleth or Institutional access.
There are two levels of OpenAthens access:

  • HEI OpenAthens account for University students which gives you access to core content. Request an account 
  • NHS OpenAthens account which gives you access to additional content such as TripPro, ebooks and the Maudsley prescibing guidelines.  If you are a member of NHS staff you can apply here Students on placement contact your Hospital library, (student access may only last for the duration of your placement).

Which ever account you use remember it is OpenAthens for NHS resources and University login (Shibboleth) for University resources.

To help you keep them seperate you are strongly advised to use a different browser or open a private or incognito browser session when using OpenAthens. In other words, one browser for University resources and a different one for OpenAthens resources.

NHS Knowledge and Library Hub

 NHS knowledge and library hub, NHS library search box

Similar to OneSearch this hub searches the NHS core collection of library resources and also gives quick access to NICE guidelines and BMJ best practice. It provides access to some collections that the University does not subscribe to, such as the British Nursing Index and Embase, as well as some we do, such as CINAHL.
Anyone can search the hub but you will need an OpenAthens account to view the full-text, search individual collections or access BMJ Best Practice. View the guide to using the Library hub.

Some of the key additional resources are:

BMJ Best practice is a clinical decision support tool, providing the evidence for every step of diagnosis and treatment.

British Nursing Index - provides the references to articles in the most relevant UK nursing and midwifery journals. The full-text may be available in other collections.

Embase is a comprehensive biomedical research database.

The Hub also gives you quick access to NICE resources

There are additional resources only available to NHS employees, these include: Trip Pro, ebooks, Maudsley prescibing guidelines and any locally purchased content.  To access these you will need an NHS OpenAthens account (which is different from an HEI OpenAthens account).  You can apply for one of these if you are bank staff, check with the hospital library.  See the full list of resources and who can access them

eLearning for Healthcare.

A suite of online tutorials provided by Health Education England, supporting every aspect of healthcare. You can access most modules with a free registration but if you log in with OpenAthens you can save them to count towards your CPD.

See the guide on how to set up a free account e-LfH account creation.

Two new courses from the e-LfH - Literature searching and Critical Appraisal


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