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EMS: Home

Where to find information

Authoritative medical information

The Mayo Clinic - a nonprofit medical practice and medical research group. It employs more than 4,500 physicians and scientists, and 57,100 allied health staff. The practice specializes in treating difficult cases through tertiary care.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - the leading national public health institute of the United States. Its main goal is to protect public health and safety through the control and prevention of disease, injury, and disability in the US and internationally.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) - a weekly digest for the United States published by the CDC. It is the main vehicle for publishing public health information and recommendations.

Professional journals

Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) - seeks to improve patient care in the prehospital setting and promote positive change in EMS by delivering information and education from industry leaders, change makers and emerging voices.

EMS World - covers clinical and educational issues important to the emergency medical field, including legislative changes, curriculum developments, and technological improvements within the field of emergency medical services.

Scholarly, peer-reviewed articles

Annals of Emergency Medicine - a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal covering all aspects of emergency medicine care.

PubMed Central - a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the National Library of Medicine.

Google Scholar - a freely accessible web search engine that indexes the full text or abstracts of scholarly literature across an array of disciplines.

EBSCOhost (Login Required) - wide range of research databases for magazine and journal articles. AHFS Consumer Medication Information, CINAHL Plus, Health Source, and MEDLINE would be good starting points.

Search Tips and Tricks

Abstract or Article?

An abstract is a summary of the main article. An abstract will include information about why the research study was done, what the methodology was and something about the findings of the author(s). The abstract is always at the beginning of the article and will either be labeled "abstract" or will be set apart from the rest of the article by a different font or margins.


The abstract should tell you what the research study is about, how the research was done (methodology), who the research sample was, what the authors found and why this is important to the field.

Use Quote Marks for Phrase Searching

You have probably noticed when searching in databases or using Google, that when you enter your terms surrounded by quotation marks - like, "kidney failure" - you get slightly different results than if you entered the term with no quotes. This is because quotation marks are used for phrase searching.  When you surround your search terms with quotation marks, you are telling the database that the words must appear as an exact phrase.
In PubMed the following searches break down like this:
kidney failure = 161,894 results
"kidney failure" = 80,598 results

If You Need Current information, Set the Date Range

Most databases will retrieve all articles available, regardless of publication date. Databases typically default to "Relevance", which is a combination of how closely the keywords you used match the keywords in the article, and where and how often the keywords appear. The top article in your results list may be the "most relevant" because the keywords appear in the title, and are repeated often in the text. But that doesn't mean the article is current.

Most databases allow you to set date ranges (sometimes a custom date range, sometimes within the last year, two years, or five years). If you need current information, use the date range option in the database. Important: In medicine and law, "current" is defined as, "within the last five years". 

Stuck? Contact a Librarian!

Seriously, we're here to help you.

Reference & Instruction Librarian

Robert Felthousen's picture
Robert Felthousen
Riverside Campus Library
(541) 245-7599

Propose a Change

[In 2006], in its comprehensive report on EMS in the United States, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) said, “The prehospital emergency care system provides a stark example of how standards of care and clinical protocols can take root despite an almost total lack of evidence to support their use.”

The report found that half of EMS interventions lacked an adequate evidence base (or had no evidentiary support at all), compared to only 5% that were supported by high-quality evidence. The IOM concluded that as a result, EMS systems in this country often operate “blindly” when addressing issues such as system design, resource deployment and clinical interventions.

Since then, many EMS leaders have been advocating for evidence-based clinical interventions in the prehospital setting.

Source: Weber, M. J. (2015). "Why research is important in EMS", EMSWorld.