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Posted: September 14th, 2023

Developing Effective PICOT Questions to Guide Evidence-Based Nursing Practice

Review the elements included in PICOT questions to guide evidence-based nursing practice.
Respond to the questions below using the PICOT Question Worksheet Template Download PICOT Question Worksheet Template.
Using a minimum of 3 scholarly nursing sources, current within 5 years:
Identify and describe one practice-related issue or concern. You may choose to build on the practice issue you identified in NR500NP/NR501NP.
Explain why the issue/concern is important to nurse practitioner practice and its impact on health outcomes.
Describe each element of your PICOT question in one or two sentences, being sure to address all of the following:
P-Population and problem– What is the nursing practice concern or problem and whom does it affect?
I–Intervention– What evidence-based solution for the problem would you like to apply?
C–Comparison– What is another solution for the problem? Note that this is typically the current practice, no intervention at all, or alternative solutions.
O–Outcome– Very specifically, how will you know that the intervention worked? Think about how you will measure the outcome.
T–Time frame– What is the Timeframe involved for the EBP initiative or the target date of completion?
Construct your PICOT question in the standard PICOT question format (narrative) and define each letter separately, such as:
P =
I =
C =
O =
T =
PICOT question written in full
Use APA formatting guidelines for references and citations.
Submit your worksheet using the PICOT Worksheet Template as a Word document to the Week 2 Dropbox
Developing Effective PICOT Questions to Guide Evidence-Based Nursing Practice
Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a cornerstone of modern nursing. By integrating the best available research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values, nurses can deliver the highest quality of care. A crucial first step in any EBP initiative is developing a focused, answerable question to guide the search for relevant literature. Known as a PICOT question, this framework helps narrow the scope of inquiry to specific populations, interventions, comparisons, outcomes, and timeframes. Crafting a clear PICOT question sets the stage for efficiently locating applicable studies and implementing findings to improve patient outcomes.
P – Population and Problem
The population of interest for this PICOT question are adult patients on a medical-surgical unit at a large urban hospital who are at risk of developing pressure injuries due to limited mobility. Pressure injuries, also known as bed sores or pressure ulcers, are localized damage to the skin and/or underlying tissue that usually occur over a bony prominence as a result of pressure or pressure in combination with shear and/or friction (National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, 2016). These injuries are painful for patients and increase the risk of infection, lengthen hospital stays, and drive up healthcare costs. Reducing their incidence is a priority for improving patient experience and safety.
I – Intervention
The intervention proposed is implementing a turning schedule whereby nurses reposition at-risk patients every two hours utilizing a turning protocol. Turning patients at regular intervals is recommended to relieve pressure and promote blood flow (National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, 2016). Proper positioning helps redistribute pressure across the body to prevent damage to high-risk areas.
C – Comparison
The current standard practice on the unit is to turn patients as needed based on nursing assessment rather than a set schedule. Without a structured protocol, patients are at higher risk of developing pressure injuries due to inconsistent repositioning (Tayyib & Coyer, 2016).
O – Outcome
The outcome measured will be the incidence of hospital-acquired pressure injuries over a three-month period with the new turning schedule compared to the previous three months. This quantifiable data can demonstrate the impact of the intervention on patient outcomes.
T – Timeframe
The turning schedule will be implemented over a 12-week period from January 2023 to March 2023. Incidence rates will be tracked monthly and compared to the previous 3 months (October 2022 – December 2022) to evaluate the effectiveness of the protocol in reducing pressure injuries within a specified timeframe.
PICOT Question
In adult patients at risk of developing pressure injuries on a medical-surgical unit (P), how does implementing a two-hour turning schedule protocol (I) compared to turning based on nursing assessment (C) affect the incidence of hospital-acquired pressure injuries (O) over a three-month period (T)?
In summary, crafting a focused PICOT question is the first step to structuring an EBP project. By clearly defining the population, intervention, comparison, outcome, and timeframe, nurses can efficiently search and appraise relevant literature to improve clinical practice and patient outcomes. Developing effective PICOT questions is a foundational nursing skill for evidence-based decision making.
National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel. (2016). NPUAP pressure injury stages. https://npuap.org/page/NPUAPPressureInjuryStages
Tayyib, N., & Coyer, F. (2016). Effectiveness of four-hourly versus as-required repositioning of hospital patients on incidence of pressure ulcers: Interrupted time series study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 63, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2016.08.018

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