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Evidence Based Nursing: PICO

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What is PICO?


Photo used with a Creative Commons License.

Sadly, this PICO page is not devoted to the joys of salsa.  PICO is actually a tool you can use to help you create an answerable clinical question. 

'Answerable question?', you may ask, 'Aren't most questions answerable?'  It might be better to say that we are trying to create a question that we can use evidence-based research to answer.  And, not all clinical questions can be answered with research.

It sounds silly, but creating a well-built question can be hard to do.  PICO is a formula that can turn your clinical case into a research question.

PICO is a mnemonic device which stands for:

  • P- Patient or Population or Problem
  • I- Intervention
  • C- Control/comparison
  • O- Outcome
  • T- Time (sometimes this is added to the end of PICO to represent how long it takes to demonstrate an outcome)

How to Build a Beautiful Question

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