INSPIRING CHANGE: Using PICO and the brief report to answer clinical questions
Mary Y. Elkins MPH, RN, CIC

April 2010 
Volume 40  Number 4
Pages 59 - 60
  PDF Version Available!

AS A BUSY NURSE CLINICIAN, you need practical information about how to apply evidence-based practice (EBP) to your daily routine. This article will explain how you can use the acronym PICO and a brief report to quickly assess current best practices, share information with colleagues, and improve patient outcomes.Using the brief report method for disseminating systematic reviews can help you to overcome the barrier of lack of time when it comes to reading and synthesizing literature.1 Findings can be e-mailed to nursing staff to provide easy access to research. Brief reports can be designed and written to be understood in small doses, which will engage rather than overwhelm the nurse, encourage appreciation for research, and increase awareness of EBP.1 This method is a simple, visible way to share information efficiently throughout the hospital nursing department.For maximum clarity and efficiency, the acronym PICO can be used to frame and focus clinical questions. PICO stands for:P:Patient or PopulationI: proposed Intervention of InterestC:Comparison group or Current standardO:Outcome desired.The PICO acronym is based on the 1992 Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine recommendation for asking focused questions and finding the right evidence to answer them.2 Nursing researchers support the use of PICO.3Using the brief report method, you can focus the question with PICO, get the best evidence from the literature, critically appraise the information, and write the findings in a one-page summary. The final step includes sharing the summary with other clinicians so that everyone can appraise the evidence and decide whether to integrate it into practice.Now let's examine how one group used PICO and the brief report to assess the evidence for one practical application.I used PICO in my medical-surgical unit to determine whether to change current procedure for the preoperative shower. This question formed the basis of the investigation: For the surgical patient, will the use

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