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PICO: Evidence-Based Practice

What informs evidence-based nursing practice?

Diagram of evidence based practice

Nurses and other health professionals factor in expertise, evidence from research articles and studies, and patient values and preferences. If you are asked to do research on an evidence-based practice you'll need to ask a clinical question related to a particular patient or type of patient. PICO can help you.

PICO is a way to organize the information you are gathering for Evidence-based Practice.

What each letter in PICO stands for

When you have a topic in mind, wrote down what you know so far for each part of PICO. You will now have some key words to use as you do library research to find articles and studies to support what you know and inform you of further options and comparisons. 

For example: your topic is whether follow up calls from a nurse after hospital discharge prevent patient readmission.

P would be patients who have just been discharged from the hospital

I would be a phone call from a nurse

would be any other protocols you find that would be alternatives to calling -- including no follow up calls, or following up with patients a different way, such as emailing.

would be the outcome you want for these patients -- lower rates of readmission.

Your keywords could be nurse, call, discharge, readmission.


What is EBP?

"Evidence-based practice (EBP) provides nurses with a method to use critically appraised and scientifically proven evidence for delivering quality health care to a specific population" (Majid, et al., 2011).

What's the difference between evidence-based practice and nursing research?

"Evidence-based practice is used to close the gap between the research being conducted and the practice—the 'research/practice gap" (HealthLeaders Media).

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