Finding electronic information for health policy advocacy: A guide to improving search results

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The success of advanced practice registered nurses' (APRNs') health policy advocacy depends on staying well informed about key issues. Searching for high-quality health policy information, however, can be frustrating and time consuming. Busy clinicians need strategies and tips to reduce information overload and to access synthesized research for evidence-based health policy. This article therefore offers APRNs practical guidelines and resources for searching electronic health policy information.

Data sources:

Scholarly databases and Internet sites.


Electronic health policy information is generated by a wide variety of public and private organizations and disseminated in hundreds of journals and Web pages. Specialty search tools are needed to retrieve the unindexed gray literature, which includes government documents, agency reports, fact sheets, standards, and statistics not produced by commercial publishers. Further, Internet users need to examine search results with a critical eye for information quality.

Implications for practice:

Expertise in searching electronic health policy information is a prerequisite for developing APRNs' leadership in political arenas to influence health policy and the delivery of healthcare services.

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