Writing a PICOT in Nursing

published by nleibold

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Evidence-Based Practice
PICO(T) is a mnemonic format for use in formatting evidence-based practice questions.  Keep reading to learn the five components the mnemoic stands for!  In this Infographic, PICOT is described and tips for writing a PICOT are presented!  Scroll down to the end.
5 Steps
Patient population or patient condition of interest:  The patient population or patient condition of interest should be described.  It is important to know and explain the population and condition carefully so that the project, including evidence used is based on this group (Schmidt & Brown, 2015).  For example, heart disease management for females should not be based on research done with males.
Intervention of interest:  Evidence found during the literature review should match and provide data to support the intended intervention in the project (Schmidt & Brown, 2015).   For example, if the project is aimed at reducing urinary tract infections in acute care patients, the evidence should all relate to this topic.
Comparison of interest:  A comparison is done to the standard of care or the current practice, or a control group.  The outcomes are compared to determine if the new intervention produces a better patient outcome (Schmidt & Brown, 2015).  For example, if the project is to use a Bundle of Interventions to prevent falls in the elderly population, how does this compare to the current practices?
Did You Know?
Outcome of interest:  The intended measure of the improvement is identified and described. For example, the intended measure may be normal blood pressure readings.  
Timing:  This is the time it takes for the outcome to be reached.  For example, after the intervention of walking to lower blood pressure, the blood pressure was lowered within two weeks of walking for 30 minutes, 4 times a week.
Writing A PICOT
P = Population/patient condition:  Describe the population/patient condition in one to three paragraphs.  What is the gender?  What is the age group?  What are attributes of the population/patient condition?  What is the geographical location?   Is your focus in a state, region, US, or International?  
I = Intervention of interest:  Describe 5 to 10 research studies related to interventions.  It is best to use studies that have a similar population.  This section may be up to ten paragraphs in length.  
C = Comparison of interest:   In one to two paragraphs, describe the similarity/differences of the current practice or standard of practice to the new intervention.  What rationale exists to support this change?
Top Tips
For Writing A PICOT
O = Outcome of interest:  Describe the intended clinical outcome in one to two paragraphs.  Be specific.  Identify the specific items you will measure.  For example, blood pressure, heart rate, perception of care received, etc.  Consider any age or gender related differences.
T = Timing:  Describe the time it takes to see the intended outcome.  This section should be about one paragraph.  
Infographic Author:  Dr. Nancyruth Leibold, EdD, RN, PHN, CNE
Infographic Author
Thanks for checking out this Infographic about Writing a PICOT in Nursing!
Reference Schmidt, N. A. & Brown, J. M. (2015).  Evidence-based practice for nurses.  (3rd ed.).  Burlington, MA:  Jones & Bartlett.      
Evidence-Based Practice