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NURS 4610: Translating Evidence for Nursing Practice (traditional course): PICOT Question

This guide is designed to assist you with library research and information literacy skills for finding, critically appraising and synthesizing scientific evidence.

"What is PICOT?"

Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a systematic approach to patient care decision-making based on current, best available evidence. 

The first step in EBP involves re-phrasing your clinical scenario in the form of a focused, searchable, and answerable clinical question

The PICOT model is a framework to help you accomplish this step.  

PICOT Search Strategy Worksheet

A well-built PICOT question can help you identify terms to use in your database search in order to efficiently retrieve highly relevant evidence.

The following worksheet can be used to brainstorm and outline search terms for your database search strategies.  

Formulating an EBP Question with the PICOT model

Let's consider the following clinical scenario: 

You are an oncology nurse and you notice a great amount of fatigue in many of the cancer patients that you see.  While at a recent nursing conference, you attended a session on the use of yoga in managing fatigue in general.  You are curious if yoga could be effective in cancer patients' fatigue.  You take this idea back to your hospital's Nursing Research Council who then decided to implement this as an EBP project to see if yoga improves cancer patients' fatigue in 6 months.

The PICOT model serves as a framework for rephrasing your scenario into a clinical question:

PICOT Model Keywords Clinical Question
P (patient/population/problem) cancer patients with fatigue In cancer patients with fatigue
I (intervention/issue/interest) yoga does yoga
C (comparison - if any) usual care as compared to usual care
O (outcome) reduce symptoms of fatigue reduce symptoms of fatigue
T (time - not always included) 6 months after implementation within 6 months after implementation?

You now have a focused, searchable, and well-built clinical question:

"In cancer patients with fatigue (P), does yoga (I), as compared to usual care (C), reduce symptoms of fatigue (O) within 6 months after implementation (T)?"