What is your question?

Along the lines of my recent posts on evidence-based practice, I have one more thing I’d like to share. It’s something I wish I had known back in nursing school and especially in graduate school while working on my final research paper before graduation. It’s called a PICOT question.

PICOT is an acronym to help you formulate a clinical question and guide your search for evidence. Using this format can help you find the best evidence available in a quicker, more efficient manner. Take a look:

P = patient population

 

I = intervention or issue of interest

C = comparison intervention or issue of interest

O = outcome

T = time frame

Try using the PICOT format to help you formulate your next clinical question and search for relevant studies and publications. For example, if you wanted to know the effect of flu vaccination on the development of pneumonia in older adults, you could fill in the blanks like this:

In _________(P), how does __________ (I) compared to _________ (C) influence _________ (O) over ________ (T)?

In patients ages 65 and older,  how does the use of an influenza vaccine  compared to not receiving the vaccine  influence their risk of developing pneumonia during the flu season?

What’s your question? Try using the PICOT format and see how it affects your search results! You can find more information, including other templates to help you formulate your question in Asking the Clinical Question: A Key Step in Evidence-Based Practice.

Reference
Stillwell, S., Fineout-Overholt, E.,  Melnyk, B., & Williamson, K. (2010). Evidence-Based Practice, Step by Step: Asking the Clinical Question A Key Step in Evidence-Based Practice. American Journal of Nursing, 110(3), 58-61.  
Posted: 10/29/2011 1:32:50 PM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 24 comments


Comments
Kezza F
Working on a PICO question, Do daily weights completed in the home decrease a patients symptoms and the risk of hospitalization for heart failure patients? Is this to simplistic? Thanks for your assistance.
10/27/2016 6:42:15 AM

Jacquelyn
Hello,
I am an FNP student working on my DNP as well. I have a PICOT question that I think is a start but I need some advice to tweak it. If someone has a further suggestion for a good PICOT question involving autoimmune disorders I would greatly appreciate the assist. Let me know how this sounds

Do those patients with autoimmune diseases (P) have better overall outcome and lower cost of care (O) when managed by a specialized care manager (I) in congruence with a primary care provider within their first 5 years of diagnosis compared to those that do not receive specialized care management?
10/3/2016 3:53:00 PM

smita Gallagher
I am a DNP student, need help writing picot. not student performance based per research protocol. However I can use critical thinking in clinical area. I am thinking about incorporating SBAR to se if in creases critical thinking in novice learners as compared to just using the care plan thank you
9/29/2016 3:14:30 PM

smita Gallagher
Hello, I am a DNP student and have to write picot. I am a nurse educator but project can not be student performance based. I am thinking about incorporating sbar as critical thinking tool in the clinical, so far we are just using the nursing process and want to compare if critical thinking increases using both . I have to address as novice learners thank you
9/29/2016 3:10:44 PM

Smita Gallagher
Need help with PICOT question. I am a nurse faculty and our problem is low nclex scores, but, my dnp program research must impact nursing on students. We have ATI, faculty not using correctly, would like to do my project on training faculty to ati and compare if scores go up, is this do able ? Thank you
9/15/2016 7:16:53 PM

Ed
Is this a good PICO statement?
Current management of dressing change is inadequate. Proper training on evidence-based practice (EBP) techniques related to applying and removing medical adhesive products would decrease the risks of Medical Adhesive-Related Skin Injuries (MARSI); therefore, reduce HAIS, improving the quality of patient outcomes. (McNichol, 2013)
9/14/2016 3:44:01 PM

lashun
Need help with picot question about patient and nurse ratio affecting patient outcomes
7/17/2016 11:09:56 PM

Mark
I have a PiCOT question about fall in the Nursing. Please help
7/13/2016 1:21:10 AM

Samantha
I'm trying to format a PICOT question for my graduation presentation this week. What I've got so far is this... What is the effect of needle aspiration on intramuscular injection pain in pediatric patients compared to no needle aspiration? Is this right? Or does it need to be reworked?
4/30/2016 8:39:59 PM

Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP
Hi Virginia,
I'd recommend that you cite the original article in your professional or academic writing. Here's an example, using APA style:
Quinlan-Colwell, A. (2013). Making an Ethical Plan for Treating Patients in Pain. Nursing2013, 64-68.

(Journal title should be italicized).

Thanks,
Lisa
2/5/2016 6:48:37 AM

Virginia Williams
If I use an article from one of the journals on your site do I also need to cite Lippincott? If so how do I do it using APS style?
2/4/2016 8:20:33 PM

Virginia Williams
If I use an article from one of your journals to do a research paper do I also have to credit Lippincott? If so how do I do that?
2/4/2016 8:18:13 PM

Tracy
Please Help! I am trying to present a good clinical question using the PICO (T) format and I can't think. I would like it to have to do with Congestive Heart Failure and the non-compliance of diet, exercise and medications. Thanks in advance
2/4/2016 9:41:23 AM

Elias
This is such a nice article on how to write a PICO(T) QUESTION. If anyone needs help in formulating a PICO question or a research problem, they can respond here then I see what I can do.
2/1/2016 10:56:00 AM

Mercy Chirpich
Please help with PICOT question.
Obesity in African American women ages 21-55 by monitoring food and activity logs for 6-8 weeks for risk factors associated with obesity.
1/9/2016 10:12:55 PM

Melony Goodwin
need help to form a picot question from my posed theory that anxiety in women 30-50 yrs of age is a barrier to seeking mammogram screening
11/28/2015 12:22:59 AM

Phylis Harris
please with PICO and questions
9/7/2015 10:02:49 AM

g3
April 23. 2015 06:35
An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. There's no doubt that that you ought to publish more about this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but usually people don't speak about such topics. To the next! Cheers!!
lipo
8/6/2015 1:37:00 PM

Bec
March 29. 2015 04:46
I need help with a PICO question as I am blocked right now. It is a scenario about Immunisations. It goes like this.
At a recent GP visit it was suggested that Bronwyn, have Amy, her 11-month old baby immunised against Measles, Mumps and Rubella very soon. Bronwyn, who worked as a health care professional, primarily in Aged Care, is aware that there is quite a bit of community debate about whether to immunize or not. She is afraid of doing anything that could harm Amy and she has heard a lot about the side-effects of immunisations, such as Autism in the media. However, she is not really sure about the benefits and risks of immunisation and she has also heard that there is an increase in Measles infection rates recently. She wants to do what is best for Amy and so she decides she needs to know more about this issue before she makes a final decision.

I need to form a PICO question from this. Can you help me?
Regards
Bec
8/6/2015 1:36:38 PM

lmbonsall
BegumFebruary 2. 2015 01:59
Hi Sherin,
Thanks for reaching out to us for some help on this! I'm thinking that you'd have to come up with what you specifically want to find out from the article you mention. Some ideas...Will you compare one cause to another or maybe compare two fall prevention methods? I think you have to zone in on exactly what you want to find out and then add that into the PICOT formula:

In older adults(P), how does __________ (I) compared to _________ (C) influence the risk of falls (O) over ________ (T)?

I hope this helps!
Lisa
8/6/2015 1:36:15 PM

Sherin Begum
January 19. 2015 15:48
Hi

I am struggling with a PICOT question and I desperately need some help please. The article entitled "Reducing the likelihood of falls in older People". It goes over the causes of falls such as environment, age, medications, foot wear, etc... and then it covers prevention strategies such as medication reviews, alarms, modifying the physical environment, physical restraints, a very good nursing assessment. From this we need to formulate a PICOT question.
8/6/2015 1:35:55 PM

Cristina
May 21. 2013 11:33
I'm a struggling nursing student. Is this a good PICOT question.
Among breast cancer surgery patients is attending a nurse lead outpatient lymphedema screening and prevention program more effective than receiving only post-op nurse teaching for preventing late stages of lymphedema after 2 years from surgery.
8/6/2015 1:35:29 PM

Paula Pitterson-Punch
October 20. 2012 23:05
John is a 56 year old male who was initially diagnosed six months ago with Health failure. He was treated via a three-day stay in the hospital and sent home with a drug regime and sing then has been seen in the er two times and now re-hospitalized with shortness of breath, pedal edema, and wiight gain. He does not understand why the medication are not working. He cannot miss anymore days at workd or he will lose his job and medcal insurance for him and his family. His wife is a stay home mom for thier three boys. John is a construction worker and does take his medications as directed but continues to eat what he wants. He states he cannot exercise because he works six days a week and is just too tire when he gets home. He is always tired, up all night going to the bathroom, and is extremely worried about his health issues and the future. His wife, Kathy, is also very worried because she is a stay at home mon and hand workd since the virth of their first child who is 16 years old. During this hospital stay, another cardiac catheterization reveals that the ejection fraction of his heart is only 40. The doctore has told him he needsto change his lifestyle, continue with his meds, and monitor his vital signs at home. John's wife, Kathy, is 40 yers old and finds herself eoverwhelmed with the diagnosis and is worried that she may have to go back to work if John is not able to continue working. She wantss to know what she can do to help John. She will do anything but she is not sure what will help John. The nurse came in and handed her a bunch of papers about diet and exercise and said a home health nurse would set him up for home monitoring.
8/6/2015 1:35:12 PM

sharon isree
August 27. 2012 07:07
56 year old male newly diagnosed with heart failure is non compliant with diet and exercise with edema and weight gain. Please help with PICO and question.
8/6/2015 1:34:46 PM

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