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Evidence Based Nursing

Why is EBP Important?

Evidence based practice (EBP) is the conscientious use of current best evidence in making decisions about patient care (Sackett, Straus, Richardson, Rosenberg, & Haynes, 2000).

You might be asking, "Why do I need to know how to develop EBP research skills?"
Here are a few reasons: 

  • Knowing how to find evidence (such as RCTs or Meta-Analyses) are likely to result in the desired patient outcome
  • Provides opportunities for nursing care to be more individualized
  • Allows nurses to stay up to date with latest developments

Youngblut, J. M., & Brooten, D. (2001). Evidence-based nursing practice: Why is it important? AACN Clinical Issues, 12(4), 468-476.

Why is PICO(T) Important?

Knowing how to form a PICO(T) question helps you get evidence to support best practices. In academia, you use the question to:

  • Focus the scope of your issue to get relevant results
  • Develop keywords that will help you search for evidence
  • Get more manageable results with a focused search strategy
  • Save time!

Creating a Question

PICO describes the process of defining a problem and creating a clinical question, e.g., a good clinical question will include all :

P Patient population of interest   

I Intervention/issue of interest  

C Comparison of interest 

O Outcome of interest                

Sometimes, a fifth element, Time, is added to the process          

Example: In acute care patients, how do repositioning initiatives, compared to no initiatives, affect hospital acquired pressure ulcers?

P Patient population of interest and/or problem  =    Acute Care Patients
I Intervention/issue of interest  =                            Repositioning Initiatives
C Comparison of interest =                                    No treatment
O Outcome of interest =                                        Decreased risk of pressure ulcer

Identify the topics and terms from your question to search the literature 

Search Tip: Begin with a broader search by using only a couple of elements, such as P (population) and I (intervention). Based on your results, you can add in keywords that fit the other PICO(T) elements. 


PICOT Question Worksheet

Template for Asking PICO(T) Questions

PICO(T) Search Strategy

Link to full size worksheet