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Nursing Tools

Graduation is an important and exciting time of change for many students. Sadly, one of these changes is losing access to many Duke resources such as library subscriptions to journals and databases. Here are some things to consider before you leave Duke and suggestions for a number of free resources you can use.

Duke OneLink

Duke graduates can use their NetID and email account for one year after graduation; however, your NetID will no longer allow you to access the same software, journal articles or databases that you can while you are a student.

The alumni office is offering a very limited set of resources that require you to set up a Duke OneLink Account. These resources are not medically focused, but they are worth checking out since they are free.

Before you lose access, here are some things to do:

  • Go through your saved citations and PDFs: Are there any you want to keep? Are there any you would like to have the PDFs for? Do this before you leave so you can still get free full text!
  • Evaluate your citation manager needs. If you are using Endnote, double-check that you have the most current version on a personal device before you leave. This will last you for a couple years, but you will have to purchase it again at some point, which will cost $250. However, there are free citation management options, like Zotero, that are an excellent alternative!

Resources through the Library

Just because you are leaving Duke doesn't mean that you can't use the library's website! Under the Guides section of our site, there are resources for helping you conduct research, use databases, writing and citing, and finding and accessing things like images. These curated guides frequently point to free resources found around the internet and not specifically at Duke.

Our Alumni Services page may also be useful.  The tools for staying current can be super useful for keeping up with new research in your field.

Other free resources

We have provided a full list of free resources on our Free Clinical Tools for Health Professionals guide, but these are worth a special mention:

PubMed Central

PubMed as the database will always be freely available to you – you'll just be missing access to most full text. PubMed Central is a sub-section of PubMed that is guaranteed to have the full text! It is the same interface you know and love, and a promise to have the thing you need. But buyer beware: Not all of these articles are from peer-reviewed journals. Critical appraisal will be important.


Add Unpaywall to your browser. It will automatically check if there is an open access version of the article you want. The open access version may be the author's manuscript or a preprint version instead of the final published version.

DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals

DOAJ has free full text for a variety of vetted open access journals that cover many subjects and languages.

Other resources to consider

Join your NC Area Health Education Center: If you will remain in North Carolina, you should consider joining AHEC and the AHEC Digital Library.  For a small yearly fee, AHEC member have access to a suite of databases, journals, and other paid digital resources.

Contact the Regional Medical Library (RML) in your area: National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) Call 1-800-338-RMLS (7657), Mon-Fri, 8:30-5PM to find out what resources & services are available to you.

Your local university library: Some college and university libraries allow the public to use their resources if you are physically in the library.  Its worth a call or email to find out what their library's access rules are.

Investigate your public library: Public libraries often subscribe to a few health databases like CINAHL, and they may also have a means to obtain full text articles.

Review organizational membership perks: Some professional organizations, for example, the American Physical Therapy Association, offers access to databases or certain journals as a part of their annual memberships.