This post will provide you with helpful tips on how to write a PICO question for your nursing change management or capstone project. Writing good papers as a nursing student begins with challenging what is in the literature. As a result, nursing papers must be critical, well-reasoned, and insightful.

You have every incentive to finish this essay, given the necessity of developing PICO questions and writing PICOT statements. We have the best if all you require is someone to develop a PICOT question and an outline for your nursing research paper or term paper. Our nursing term paper and capstone writers can help you with the procedure.

The steps of writing an EBP paper have already been covered in our nursing evidence-based paper guide. This article will walk you through the steps of drafting a PICOT question as an assignment, section, or a brief nursing essay for your EBP research project. We want to make it simple for nursing students to understand and frame clinical research questions.

How to Write a PICO Nursing Class Question

PICOT Question vs. PICOT Statement

A PICOT question is a detailed, specific, and pertinent clinical research question derived from an analysis of practice problems or a patient case scenario.

A PICOT statement, on the other hand, is a statement derived from the PICOT question that describes the direction of an intervention or evidence-based practice. It specifies the evidence-based practice or change required in practice or to solve a clinical condition, narrowing the scope of a PICOT question.

Making a good PICOT question entails coming up with a solution to a problem that is answerable, researchable, and evidence-based.

The acronym PICOT stands for:

P: Population/patient: variables such as age, gender, ethnicity, and persons with a specific disorder might be considered.

I: Intervention/Indicator: This is the variable that you’re interested in, such as illness exposure, prognostic factors, or dangerous conduct.

The absence of a risk factor, placebo, or prognostic factor is referred to as C-Comparison or Control. B

O: The outcome, such as diagnostic accuracy, rate of occurrence of a negative event, or disease risk.

T: Time refers to how long a specific Intervention takes to produce a desired result or how long the participants are watched for.

How to Write a Professional-Looking PICOT Question

PICOT comprises five essential aspects, as indicated in the mnemonic analysis above, which we will now examine one by one.


The population refers to the people you focus on when writing a PICOT statement or question. It could, for example, be a population in a certain geographic area suffering from an illness such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or psychological/mental disorders.

Gender, age, ethnicity, status, occupation, and the medical issue of concern can all be used to further restrict the population. These groups are considered a population for interest in a nurse change management plan due to the prevalence of these criteria.

When choosing a population, make sure it’s narrowed down to a single patient who represents the complete population for the findings to be generalizable.


The interventions are acts taken to improve the patient’s well-being or health. Music or art therapy, for example, can be utilized to promote the well-being of individuals suffering from mental illnesses such as stress. You must ask yourself: • What is the optimal therapy method for the patient?

• What is the most important issue?

A pharmacologic intervention, such as medication, surgery, diagnostic testing/imaging, or a non-pharmacologic action, such as patient education, pressure monitoring, or lifestyle adjustment, can be used.


As the term implies, you must compare your target population to one that is the polar opposite. The goal is to demonstrate the effectiveness of the planned modification, intervention, treatment method, diagnostic testing, follow-up, patient education, or lifestyle change.

It is the alternative to the intervention that you are comparing. Because the PICO approach requires each entry to be completed in a step-by-step manner, you must use data from the population and intervention to complete the comparison.

The intervention can be compared to other therapies, placebos, medications, or diagnostic testing. You can eliminate the possibility of prejudice or misjudgment by comparing.

When creating a PICO inquiry, you may notice that there is nothing to compare. However, you should not be alarmed if this is the case; it is to be expected.


It’s time to report what you expect to see after completing the study on a group with a specific intervention vs those with no intervention and providing a comparison. As a result, the results denote the desired action or action of interest. If you’re conducting a study, this is the stage where you present your findings.

Statistical data or qualitative claims with rigor, relevance, and authenticity can be the result. It might take the form of illness risk, risk of a negative effect, rate of occurrence of a negative result, or diagnostic accuracy.

For accuracy, you can write the results from the patient’s perspective or from the disease’s perspective. In some cases, you can combine the two to arrive at a definitive conclusion.

Three months is the time frame. Or in less than a week.

Some guidelines will end with PICO instead of T, omitting the T that stands for time. The timeframe isn’t so much an essential element as it is a measurement of how long it takes for a particular intervention to yield a specific result. It also refers to the duration of the participants’ observation. Unless otherwise specified, include the time in both your PICO statement and the PICOT inquiry.

PICOT Statement or Question Types

In clinical practice, evidence-based research aids in generating findings and making firm judgments. Developing strategies that lead to the discovery of relevant academic material is aided by asking well-designed clinical questions. It’s crucial to ask foreground and background questions before composing the PICOT question.

The background questions are about general knowledge about the ailment or behavior, whereas the foreground questions are about specific knowledge that guides therapeutic actions or judgments. Furthermore, each of these questions has a particular focus, as seen below.

1. Treatment

Questions about a treatment used to attain a specific result are referred to as therapy-related questions. Depending on the demographic of interest, it may include counseling, education, lifestyle changes, follow-up, and surgical procedures.

Is turmeric tea, for example, more helpful than Plaquenil at reducing joint discomfort in adult patients with SLE?

The following is a template for this:

In (P)how does. (I) compared with (C) affect. (O) within. (T)

2. Preventative measures

The prevention-related questions aid in determining how something can be prevented or its impacts managed in order to stop it from spreading. As a result, when employing the PICO framework technique, you must investigate the possibility of taking preventive steps to address a patient’s condition and report on the projected outcomes.

The following is a template for this:

In. (P) compared to. (C), utilizing a specified preventative measure Y. (I) resulted in fewer days lost at work (O) (T)

What are the variations in the presence and types of organisms (O) discovered on natural polished nails and nail beds (I) and artificial nails (C) at the time of operation (T) in the OR for nurses completing a five-minute scrub (P)?

3. The prognosis

The diagnosis-related PICO questions are concerned with determining the presence of a condition in a patient. A patient with certain symptoms undergoes a diagnosis or diagnostic test. It serves as a starting point for your research because it identifies the ailment of focus that has been niched down. Given the symptoms that patients with a variety of diseases may encounter, it aids in narrowing down to a specific ailment. The PICO for diagnosis or diagnosis test looks at which tests are the most accurate and exact at diagnosing a problem.

In(P)are/is. (I)compared to. (C) more accurate in diagnosing is the template for this. Is a PKU test (I) performed on two-week-old newborns (P) more accurate in diagnosing inborn metabolic errors (O) than PKU testing performed at 24 hours of age (C)? In two weeks and 24 hours, time is implied.

4. Prognosis The prognosis-related PICO questions, also known as prediction-related PICO questions, are used to forecast the clinical course of a specific condition over time, including the anticipated consequences. Understanding how a disease progresses is essential for clinical decision-making. Inquiring about the likelihood of a disease occurring, how far it has progressed, and its expected effects over time is beneficial. It aids in the planning of therapy and the formulation of treatment strategies.

The following is a template for this:

How does (I) effect (O) in (P) when compared to (C) (T)

Example: How does the usage of an influenza vaccine (I) compared to those who have not received the vaccine (C) affect the risk of getting pneumonia (O) during flu season (T) in patients 65 years and older (P)?

5. Harm/Etiology

Finally, etiology-related inquiries are utilized to identify the most significant risk factors or causes of a disease. These questions aid physicians in determining where to begin when determining what works and what doesn’t for a specific patient population. It also aids in the development of a new treatment plan once prior approaches have failed.

The following is a template for this:

Are (P) those who have(I) at risk for. (O) overuse compared to those who don’t? (T)

Is there a higher risk of obesity (O) in children (P) with obese adoptive parents (I) than in children (P) without fat adoptive parents (C) between the ages of five and 18 (T)?

PICOT Questions and Statements Components

Question Types

Outcome Measures for Patient/Population Intervention/Exposure Comparison


The illness or condition of the patient

A therapeutic intervention such as a change in lifestyle, education, counseling, surgery, or medication

The standard of care, alternative interventions, or a placebo are all options.

Rate of death, days off work, or disability.


The patient’s risk factors and overall health

Medication or a lifestyle change may be used as a preventative approach.

Disease incidence, death rate, and days lost from work


The sickness or condition that has to be addressed

A diagnostic technique or test

Sensitivity, specificity, and odds ratio are examples of test utility measures.

Clinical difficulties in terms of length and severity are the most important prognostic factors.

The most common method of exposing an interest is via time, which is frequently referred to as “watchful waiting.”

Rates of survival, mortality, and illness progression


The patient’s risk factors, present medical conditions, or overall health

The intervention of interest exposure includes stating the risk factor’s strength and the duration of exposure.

This isn’t the case.

The incidence of a disease, the rate at which it progresses, or the fatality rate.

PICOT Question Examples

1. What is the effect of non-NPO versus NPO for 8 hours prior to the surgery on recovery issues within 4 days following the treatment in patients undergoing elective procedures?

2. Is bariatric surgery better than medication intervention for managing blood sugar in persons with type 2 diabetes?

3. Does fasting for three months reduce weight in people (18-55) diagnosed with obesity when compared to a calorie-restricted diet?

4. What is the effect of a nurse-patient education intervention on the rate of flu vaccination in patients aged 65 and up compared to no nurse-patient education intervention?

5. What is the effect of home care nurse visits on the rate of falls in patients 65 and older compared to no home care nurse visits?

6. In primigravid women who have suffered a miscarriage, what effect does the implementation of a clinical guideline for compassionate follow-up care have on anxiety three months after the miscarriage compared to no implementation of a clinical guideline?

7. Does Integrated Treatment Reduce Depression Symptoms in Adult Diabetic Patients with Depression?

8. In heart failure patients aged 65 and older, how does RE-AIM discharge screening and follow-up compare to standard self-care in terms of unplanned re-admission in 30 days? What are the patients’ and registered nurse’s opinions of the RE-AIM framework when using the protocol?

9. Can people with type 2 diabetes aged 18 to 55 improve their A1C by taking a 4-week diabetes class versus not taking one?

Is it true that using a ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) bundle reduces the risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia in critically sick patients admitted to the intensive care unit?

11. What is the least dose of manipulation required in persons with chronic neck pain to generate a clinically significant improvement in neck pain when compared to supervised exercise after 6 weeks?

12. How does screening for postpartum depression at the two-week newborn appointment versus waiting until the six-week postpartum appointment improve the outcome of postpartum depression treatment in postpartum women?

13. Can individuals with type 2 diabetes aged 18 to 55 improve their A1C by taking a four-week diabetes class versus not taking one?

14. Do individuals with type 2 diabetes aged 18 to 55 years improve their A1C when a four-week diabetes class is introduced versus no class?

15. Does physical activity help individuals with colorectal cancer manage their signs and symptoms and minimize body pain? (This is more of an EBP query)

PICOT Question Examples Based on Evidence

Let’s look at more instances now that we know the right PICOT Question format. PICOT inquiry examples include generalization, etiology, therapy, diagnostic, meaning, prognosis, and intervention. PICOT questions on hypertension, pregnancy, mental health/psychiatry, surgery, and cardiac disorders are also included.

1. Can a four-week diabetes self-management education program given through a patient portal to a web-enabled device in an SMS platform[I]improve the patient’s self-care knowledge and practices, as well as the SMBG daily average, in an adult patient with type 2 diabetes [p] within three months [T]?

2. When compared to standard patient education, does a more comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to patient education result in improved compliance with blood glucose management in individuals with type 2 diabetes?

3. Does Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) provide newly diagnosed type II diabetes patients with the tools to control their condition and self-management behavior compared to no DSME at all?

4. Are diabetic people with a low socioeconomic status more likely to develop diabetic complications or have poor clinical outcomes than diabetic adults with a higher socioeconomic status?

5. Does age play a factor in the efficacy of healing in diabetic foot ulcers treated with negative pressure wound therapy?

6. Why isn’t NPWT used instead of normal saline wound care in hospitals with patients with foot ulcers?

7. When compared to no statin prescription or a placebo, do statins improve mortality or morbidity in Diabetes Mellitus patients with LDL levels already over 1000?

8. Does listening to music in the perioperative setting reduce anxiety and postoperative pain in surgical patients?

9. Does medical barcoding reduce medication delivery errors in hospitalized pediatric patients when compared to standard/no barcoding?

11. Does obtaining medicine from RCAs minimize the rate of medical errors in patients over 65 years in residential care when compared to receiving medication from RNs?

12. When compared to non-protected passes, do techniques to avoid distractions during drug passes reduce medication administration errors MAEs for nurses in acute care settings?

13. Will the implementation of a Quiet Zone (I) vs no intervention (c) reduce interruptions and diversions, as well as decrease medication pass time and increase medication safety for nurses providing medications during 9 a.m. medication pass time (p)? (o).

14. How efficient is PCA pain medicine I compared to PRB IM medicine in treating postoperative pain in adult patients with complete hip replacements (p)? (o).

15. When compared to other NSAIDs, do COX-2 inhibitors reduce the incidence of GI bleeding in a 72-year-old woman with osteoarthritis of the knee?

16. Does early aphasia treatment (SLP services) accomplish functional communication capacities in stroke patients with aphasia (P) compared to aphasia treatment after initial or spontaneous recovery time (c)? (O).

17. How does medication education, relative to no medication teaching, improve medication adherence and blood pressure in hypertensive patients?

18. Will periodontitis, when compared to no periodontitis, increase the risk of miscarriage or a poor pregnancy outcome in pregnant women?

19. Does postpartum depression as measured by the PPD Questionnaire predict the health condition of children by the age of 5 years compared to depression as measured by the Child Health Inventory Scale at 5 years among postpartum mothers?

20. Does the combination of SSRIs and CBT/Psychotherapy, as opposed to CBT/Psychotherapy alone, lessen depression or enhance mental health outcomes in adolescents with depression or major depressive disorders?

PICOT Question/Purpose Statement Development Template

Describe each PICO element that pertains to the topic at hand. Before contemplating interventions, determine the desired goal; interventions may change as evidence is gathered. Determine the type of question and write a purpose statement.

1st step: Using PICO, define elements or clinical questions:

P = Targeted patients or population:

To address the following issue or condition:

Area of experimentation (e.g., unit/clinic):

I = (assessment or therapeutic) intervention:

C stands for comparison.

Outcomes: O = Outcomes: O = Outcomes: O =

T = Time horizon (optional):

Step 2: State your purpose:

Step 3: Determine the topic of your question (circle one):


Diagnosis Etiology

Prognosis Meaning

Step 4: Circle one or more study types that best meet your question:

Observational studies

Observational research

Qualitative research

Meta-analysis or systematic review

Case studies


Step 5: Make a list of your purpose statement’s essential terms and synonyms. Two to three themes are normal for each topic.

1st Concept: 2nd Concept: Concept number three:

Step 6: Make a list of criteria for inclusion and exclusion:

Step 7: Organize your books using keywords or concepts:


Follow the steps above to create an amazing PICOT question while writing a PICO essay. Regardless, the process normally begins with the selection of a nursing specialty. Although intended for capstone projects, this collection of current nursing topics and ideas can assist you in deciding on a concentration area.

You must pick an issue that is common in the area, where you intend to generate solutions or execute change, after you have identified your area of focus and your patient group.

Make careful to incorporate evidence-based studies that were published within the last five years while building the background of your topic. It’s also critical to create a gap, which serves as the foundation for creating a PICOT statement to test a new idea or make a change to fix an issue. Because your nursing literature review has so much weight, you must be very careful when writing it.

To create a literature evaluation table that evaluates each article, you may be asked to select scientific nursing publications such as meta-analyses, systematic reviews, literature reviews, RCTs, longitudinal studies, and other scholarly sources.