Writing PICOT Nursing Questions
Writing PICOT Nursing Questions
A good clinical question has five principal elements. These elements include Patient/Problem, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome, and Time/Type of Question/Type of Study. In the absence of an accurately developed clinical question, researching relevant evidence can become difficult and overly time-consuming. PICOT, also known as PICO, is a specialized framework that supports you as you formulate your clinical question. PICOT helps you find the most valuable information from the latest research. Evidence-based nursing relies heavily on PICOT. And evidence-based nursing is slowing but surely becoming the standard in most healthcare settings. We wrote this page to help you understand that writing PICOT nursing questions isn’t exactly rocket science.
What do the Initials in PICOT Stand for?
P is for Patient or Population. I is for Intervention or Indicator. C stands for Control or Compare while O is for Outcome. Finally, T is for Time or Type of study or Type of Question.
When thinking about P, ask yourself: Who are my patients? What specific characteristics define them? Maybe they are Latino males or African-American females or Caucasian males. Also, note their age. Their geographic location, too, might be of some consequence.
Intervention or Indicator defines your disease or condition management strategy. It also refers to the diagnostic tests or exposure to which you intend to subject your patient population.
Control or compare means the specific management strategy with which you compare your intervention or indicator.
Outcome refers to specific, patient-relevant consequences anticipated from your intervention.
When it comes to Time or Type of Study, ask yourself: what specific time period do I consider? In which particular clinical domain does my question belong? What kinds of studies are most likely to have the data and information I need? Sometimes, a question might omit T or some other component.
When writing PICOT nursing questions, be sure that your question covers at least 3 of the 5 components of a well-formed clinical question. Usually, the only aspects you can omit in a question are Time or Comparison.
Here is an example PICOT question
Do text message reminders (I) performed regularly on patients diagnosed with diabetes type 2 (P) lead to reduced chances of forgotten insulin (O) doses over a period of the next six months (T) of treatment compared with no text message reminders (C)? The question includes all five components of an effective clinical question.
Writing PICOT nursing questions may appear formulaic — and it is — to some extent. But once you master it, getting it right becomes pretty easy. We’ve seen many nursing students who needed a bit of help with developing their PICOT questions. However, most of our clients quickly master how to develop these questions. Such customers move on to more challenging problems.
The Aim of this Writing
We prepared this resource to help you boost your confidence as you develop your clinical questions now and in the future. PICOT questions drive evidence-based nursing. And evidence-based practice is gradually becoming the norm in lots of healthcare settings. We’d like to contribute in some way toward your understanding of how writing PICOT nursing questions works.
We’ll show you how to develop good PICOT questions. Is there a better way to achieve that goal than to actually build a few PICOT questions as you watch? By the time you’re reading the last word, we hope you’ll have become a more confident student nurse. Knowledge inspires confidence, and confidence often leads to increased success. In the end, you’ll realize that writing PICOT nursing questions isn’t as challenging as you likely thought.
Finally, we’ll give you multiple templates you can use to prepare your PICOT questions. For this gift, we expect you to master writing PICOT nursing questions and tell a friend or two about us. That does sound like a good deal, doesn’t it? But hey, you’re under no obligation to refer your friends or anyone else to us. We exist to serve. Everything else is secondary to the purpose of our existence.
7 Different Types of PICOT Questions
There are seven different types of PICOT questions you should familiarize yourself with as a student nurse. These questions include therapy, prediction/prognosis, prevention, intervention, diagnostic, Etiology, and meaning or quality of life questions. We’ll look at each of these PICOT questions briefly in the hope that doing that adds clarity to your understanding. After we explain each question, we’ll provide an example you can follow to while formulating your questions. Let’s dive right in.
1. Therapy Questions
Therapy questions help you to choose treatments that result in greater good than harm to your patients. Before you can use therapy questions, you must ask one critical question. That question is whether the outcome that arises out of these questions is worth the effort and cost.
Here’s a template to guide you as you develop a therapy type question:
In ­___________ (P), does/do ______(I) result in ______ (O) when compared with________ (C) over___________ (T)
Here is an example:
In nursing home residents suffering from osteoporosis, do hip protectors result in reduced injuries from falls, slips, and trips when compared with drug therapy for osteoporosis over the duration of their stay there?
2. Diagnosis Questions
Diagnosis questions seek to identify or determine the nature of a disease or injury. These questions also aim to discover the cause of a disease or injury through clinical evaluation.
Here’s a template you can adopt:
Is/Are__ (I) ____ performed on __ (P) __more effective than __(C) ____ over ___ (T) __ in ___ (O) _____
Look at this question here:
Are parent reports and self-reporting interviews performed on children from ages 5–10 more effective than parent reports alone over a month-long consultation process in diagnosing depression?
3. Etiology Questions
Like diagnosis questions, etiology questions attempt to address the origin or cause of a disease. But that’s not all. Etiology questions identify the factors likely to cause predisposition toward a particular disorder or disease.
Here’s a template you can use:
Are __(P)____with___(I)____ over __(T)____ more likely to ___(O)___ when compared with_(C)_____?
Example PICOT question:
Are non-smoking females exposed to secondhand smoke daily over a period of ten years or longer likely to develop breast cancer when compared with non-smoking females not exposed to secondhand smoke daily?
4. Prognosis or Prediction Questions
Prognosis questions attempt to predict the course of a disease.
Here’s a standard PICO question template:
Does __(I)_____ influence____(O)___ in patients who have __(p)___ over _(T)___ ?
In ___(P)____, how does __(I)____ compared to __(C)___ influence __(O)____ over __(T)__ ?
Does the telemonitoring of blood pressure in African-Americans with hypertension in urban areas improve the control of blood pressure over a period of six months after the commencement of the medication?
In patients aged 64 and above, how does the administration of influenza vaccine compared with no influenza vaccination influence the risk getting pneumonia over the flu season?
5. Prevention Questions
Just as the name suggests, prevention questions have to do with how to reduce the occurrence of diseases while identifying and influencing risk factors. Also, prevention questions focus on how to diagnose diseases the earliest possible.
Here’s your PICOT question template:
In ___(P)____, do or does ___(I)____ result in __(O)___ when compared with __(C)____ over ___(T)____
Example PICOT question:
In individuals who visit emergency rooms, do hand sanitization stations result in reduced hospital infections when compared with no hand sanitization stations over a 12-month pilot period?
6. Intervention Questions
Intervention questions deal with the treatment of a disease or disability.
PICOT question templates:
In __(P)__ ,what is the effect of __(I)__ on __(O)___ compared within_(T)_ ?
In _ (P) ___, how does/do _ (I) ___ compared to __(C) ____ influence/affect __ (O) ___ within _ (T) ___
Here is an example PICOT Question:
In Latino male teenagers with hepatitis B, how does Ibuprofen compared to acetaminophen affect the functioning of the liver?
Notice that we’ve chosen to ignore T in this intervention question. Remember: clinical questions can either be PICO or PICOT. You don’t always have to include T.
7. Meaning or Quality of Life Questions
These kinds of questions concern themselves with how a patient experiences a particular phenomenon.
How do __(P)____ diagnosed with ___(I)___ perceive __(O)___ during __(T)___ ?
Here’s an example PICOT question:
How do pregnant women just diagnosed with diabetes perceive reporting details of their blood sugar levels to their healthcare providers during the pregnancy period and six weeks after delivery?
That’s it. You’ve learned that writing PICOT nursing questions is pretty easy. We’re sure Writing PICOT nursing questions isn’t an area you’ll need to consult us on ever again. But hey, you’re free to talk to our nursing and medical experts as often as you want. With a complete understanding of how to formulate clinical questions, you’ll likely enjoy evidence-based nursing more than you ever have.

Final Thoughts
Need help with writing PICOT nursing questions? You should probably end your search for assistance now. Our highly experienced nursing and medical experts are ready and willing to guide you. All of our people are graduates from nursing school or medical school, and they never write outside of those areas. If you’re looking for general advice on writing PICOT nursing questions or any other problem, talk to anyone you want. But if you need specialized assistance with a complex problem in nursing, medicine, or psychology, contact us. Our prices are great. The sample’s always top-notch. To place your order and learn more, talk to us now.


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