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Example Pico Question Nursing

Example Pico Question Nursing

A pico question is a concise, well-built clinical question. The format of a pico question will typically look like this:

In Patients with chest pain in the emergency department, does giving Oxygen (O2) by face mask (P) compared to no Oxygen (I), change the need for hospital admission (O)?

Example Pico Question Nursings

  • Population: Patients with chest pain
  • Interventions: Giving Oxygen versus no oxygen
  • Comparison: Face mask vs no mask
  • Outcomes: Hospital admission

In Patients with chest pain in the emergency department, does giving Oxygen (O2) by face mask (P) compared to no Oxygen (I), change the need for hospital admission (O)?

You are a nurse in the emergency department. A patient presents with chest pain. You want to know if giving oxygen by face mask (intervention) compared to no oxygen (comparison), will affect the need for hospital admission.

The PICO format is used when you need to write an information paper on a clinical topic: [Population] [Intervention] [Comparison] [Outcome]. The population can be any group of people who share similar characteristics and experiences, for example: all patients with chest pain in the emergency department; all people taking aspirin daily; all pregnant women with pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting. The intervention is an action or procedure that you apply or perform on patients or participants, such as giving oxygen by face mask; placing an infusion into the vein; stimulating the liver during acute hepatitis C infection etc.. The comparison is another intervention applied to some members of your study population but not others, for example: placebo medication versus active medication during acute bronchitis treatment; no treatment versus mechanical ventilation before surgery

There are four parts to a well-built clinical question: population, intervention, comparison, and outcome.

A well-built clinical question should have four parts:

  • Population: Who is the question about?
  • Intervention: What is being tested?
  • Comparison: What is the control?
  • Outcome: What is the outcome?

You can see that a pico question is not just about the main topic but rather should be based on a clinical scenario. This will allow the reader to understand how it relates to their specific practice.