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Nursing - Forming Focused Questions Using PICO

Library resources for the Department of Nursing

Importance of Intervention in the PICO Question

Where do you find PICO questions? The questions arise during the care of the patient,  or a question from the patient or caretaker, or may occur when a new practice or policy is considered, or when quality standards indicate a problem,or when a policy & procedure manual is  being updated, or when care is provided  in different ways and consistency is needed, or a new standard or guideline will change how something is done in your facility.

  • The Intervention is something new, which you are considering in place of or in addition to current policy or procedure.

  • In studies, this is usually the experimental group.

  • When conducting your search, start with the intervention. If there are no articles on this topic, that usually means either there are no studies on your topic, or there are studies, but a different term is used to describe it.

  • The intervention is different from the comparison, which represents the current practice.  In studies, this is usually the control group.

When answering PICO questions, the result is always: Should we change our practice to include this intervention, and is this decision  based on evidence, not opinion.