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Accordion List

Nursing programs at Penn enroll over 1,200 students in the graduate, undergraduate, and accelerated programs. In addition to basic nursing education, areas of study include, but are not restricted to, topics emphasized in the following Research Centers at the School of Nursing: 

Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research  

Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing 

Center for Global Women’s Health 

NewCourtland Center for Transitions in Health  

Office of Nursing Research 

Eidos LGBT+ Health Initiative 

Much of the research and education coordinated through these Centers and throughout the School rely on social science as well as biomedical literature, public health, and bioethics. In addition to supporting the academic activities of the School of Nursing, the collections of the Libraries, particularly that of the Holman Biotech Commons, also support several thousand professional nurses employed in patient care, educational, and administrative positions throughout the University of Pennsylvania Health System. Although the Libraries supports the clinical practice of licensed vocational/practical nurses employed by UPHS, it does not support the educational endeavors of programs for vocational or practical nursing in the community. 

The University's nursing collection is housed in the Holman Biotech Commons, which serves the research, education, and clinical practice needs of the faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students of the Nursing and Medical Schools, Biomedical Graduate Studies, and employees of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. This page focuses on the ways in which the nursing collection at the Holman Biotech Commons supports the academic programs of the School of Nursing as well as the professional practices of the nursing staff of the University of Pennsylvania Health Systems. 

Nursing students are well served by access to the entire Libraries system, where they can become familiar with and use the collections of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, the Lippincott Library, and the other libraries on campus whenever appropriate. The Holman Biotech Commons collects scientific materials in nursing and related healthcare disciplines, while materials in the social sciences and other fields, especially public health and bioethics, are located throughout the Libraries system. 

Collection development for nursing is undertaken dynamically in order to support evolving clinical practice and academic issues relevant to nurses across the University system. The entire spectrum of nursing activities is supported within the university collections: electronic and print textbooks and journals on nursing practice, research and education; advanced practice and research information in journal article citations from the CINAHL/Nursing database and Medline database; social sciences databases that offer information to support the psychosocial aspects of nursing research and practice. These are only a few of the many resources of interest to nursing that may be accessed both on campus and remotely by current students, faculty, and staff of the University and the University of Pennsylvania Health System via the Biotech Commons homepage.

In addition to the Library collection, The Bates Center for the Study of The History of Nursing has approximately 1,500 book titles that comprise half of the history of nursing records listed in the Franklin Online Catalog. The remaining titles are at the Holman Biotech Commons and the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. The Bates Center is a resource for research that improves the quality and scope of historical scholarship on nursing and disseminate new knowledge on nursing history through education, conferences, publications, and inter-disciplinary collaboration. The Bates Center collects, processes, and catalogues a collection of primary historical materials and encourages and facilitates historical scholarship on healthcare history and nursing in the United States. In addition to its books, the Bates Center holds records and papers from hospitals, schools of nursing and nursing alumni associations, voluntary non-profit associations, professional and  military associations, as well as of other groups and of individuals.

1. Chronological

Current publications in support of current research.

2. Formats

The core collection is in both electronic and print formats, including books and periodicals, with special consideration given to those electronic resources that can be accessed through the university computer network. They include comprehensive databases, full-text book and journal resources, streaming media, and links to useful Penn and non-Penn web sites organized by broad subject areas. All networked resources are accessible from the Holman Biotech Commons homepage. Audiovisual material, examination reviews, handbooks, laboratory manuals, and workbooks are purchased selectively. Microforms are excluded. 

3. Geographical

Most materials collected relate to nursing issues in the Americas, Europe, and Australasia, with selected materials from other areas chosen in relation to specific faculty activities or to support representation of research from the Global South. Materials related to health disparities, concerning the health of minoritized populations in the United States, or representing the work of under-represented scholars and researchers are of particular collections interest. 

4. Language


5. Publication Dates

Publications issued within the previous three years. Older materials are purchased to fill in gaps due to lost copies, in support of new educational, research, or clinical programs, or the specific request of faculty members or advanced clinical practitioners. 

Monographs, serials, and periodicals are purchased for the Holman Biotech Commons through GOBI, Rittenhouse Books, and EBSCO, with preference for ebook and online formats where available. All publications of the American Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing are collected. Librarians scan book reviews, publication lists and other sources to identify new materials for the collection. In addition, the following criteria are often helpful in making collection decisions:

Serials and Periodicals
Inclusion in a major indexing source: the CINAHL/ Nursing or MEDLINE databases
Faculty Requests
Interlibrary Loan Activity
Cost/Potential audience   

Monographs (including ebooks)
Inclusion in American Journal of Nursing Books of the Year
Selection and approval lists from distributors
User requests, including Interlibrary Loans 

Subject areas housed at the Holman Biotech Commons reflect the interests of the major research centers of the School of Nursing. Some subject areas are collected selectively, or in a limited manner. For example, handbooks and manuals are very selectively considered for addition to the collection, as are review texts for the state board examination. 

  • Vocational/Practical Nursing
  • Manuals or handbooks intended for the clinical setting
  • Programmed texts
  • Software

The Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing at the School of Nursing collects history of nursing texts, texts of historical significance to the discipline of nursing, and other related media. The Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center collects in the areas of health policy as well as social sciences theory and practice significant to the disciplines of nursing and social work. The Annenberg Library collects in the area of communication in healthcare. The Penn Museum Library collects in the areas of transcultural and anthropological aspects of health. The Lippincott Library collects in the areas of nursing and healthcare administration.