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Evidence Based Nursing

Why is EBP Important?

"Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a problem-solving approach to the delivery of health care that integrates the best evidence from studies and patient care data with clinician expertise and patient preferences and values." (Melnyk et. al., 2009)

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, Systematic Reviews, 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 the latest developments


Melnyk BM, Fineout-Overholt E, Stillwell SB, & Williamson KM. (2009). Evidence-based practice: step by step. Igniting a spirit of inquiry: an essential foundation for evidence-based practice: how nurses can build the knowledge and skills they need to implement ERP. AJN American Journal of Nursing109(11), 49–52.

Why is PICO 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!

OVID PICO Resoure Center - Tutorial


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 (Optional)

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 keywords that fit the other PICO(T) elements. 


PICO(T) Search Strategy

Hierarchy of Evidence