Forming Focused Questions with PICO: Choose a specialty

Practice Your Skills

Practice writing out PICO components and then forming a focused question about the case study of at least one of the specialties below. Choose one or several that interest you.

Cardiology

Patients on coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) waiting lists often experience anxiety and depression and your nurse manager wants to know if it would be a good idea to reach out to these patients with presurgical home visits and follow-up calls from a specialist cardiac nurse.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario.

 

Infection Control

In the past few years, your hospital has installed antibacterial foam dispensers on all the nursing units. You’ve had nurses asking you if the foam is just as effective as washing their hands with water and soap.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario.

 

Med Surg

Shift change on your busy med-surg unit can be frustrating for you and your coworkers. Report at the nursing station takes up to 30 minutes, by the end of which you’re anxious to see your patients. You read something in a recent ANA newsletter about other hospitals switching to a bedside shift report, and you want to find out if staff liked that style of shift change better.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario.

 

Nurse Educator

It’s the last semester of your BSN students’ time in school and they’re excited.. and anxious! They’ve been asking you if they should take the NCLEX right after they graduate or wait for a while after graduation so they can relax and study.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario.

 

Oncology

You work with patients with advanced cancer and have been taught to suggest pain diaries for your patients as a form of pain management. You’ve been wondering for a while now if these diaries actually improve pain control or make pain worse by making patients more aware of their pain.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario.

 

Pediatrics

You work in a pediatrician’s office and give patients their routine vaccinations. The younger children are often fearful of needles, and some of the RNs use toys to distract the patients. You want to know if this technique actually has an effect on the children's pain response.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario.

 

Public Health

You coordinate health education programs and have been holding seminars for low-income teenagers about STI prevention. You’ve been found that they’re hesitant to open up to you during classes to ask you questions. You’re wondering if recruiting peer educators closer to their age will encourage them to actively participate and get more satisfaction out of the classes.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario.

 

School Nursing

You’re a school nurse at a school in a low-income area. One aspect of your job is counseling pregnant teens with the aim of enabling them to complete high school. You’ve even been conducting home visits on top of your normal in-school meetings as part of their preparation-for-motherhood counseling. You want sources to backup the effectiveness of these home visits.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario.

 

ICU

You work in the Big City Hospital ICU. Your mechanically ventilated patients sometimes contract nosocomial pneumonia, which leads to costly complications. You want to know if raising the head of the bed lowers the chance of the patient contracting pneumonia compared to letting the patient lie flat on their back.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario.

 

Labor & Delivery

You’re a new nurse on a labor and delivery unit. You’ve noticed that most women give birth in the lithotomy position at the encouragement of their doctors. However, you’re sure you heard in nursing school that other positions are less likely to lead to deliveries with forceps or a vacuum.. or did you? You want to find some literature to back up your claim.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario.

 

NICU

You’re the nurse manager of a NICU unit. One concern of parents of infants receiving tube feedings is being able to successfully breastfeed their child upon discharge. One of your staff nurses asks if it would be helpful to give the infants cup feedings instead of tube feedings during their NICU stay.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario.

 

Nurse Practitioner

It’s winter at your family practice, and you have a lot of patients coming in with runny noses and general malaise. Brenda, a 35 year old working mother in for a checkup states, "I’m so busy between work and home that I definitely don’t have time to get sick! Can those vitamin C or zinc pills prevent colds?"

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario.

 

PACU

The main concern for most of your patients coming out of anesthesia in your PACU is pain. You want to explore nursing interventions you can use on top of medication administration to decrease pain. One coworker mentions trying to make the PACU feel less clinical by playing soft music to relax patients.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario.

 

Psychiatry

You work on an inpatient psychiatric unit. One of your patients with chronic schizophrenia, Joe, normally mumbles to himself, but will occasionally speak to others when residents play games together. Noticing this, you say to a coworker that maybe social skills group training sessions would bring out Joe’s conversational skills. Your coworker shakes her head and says "I don’t think so. Joe is in and out of this hospital, he’s a lost cause."

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario.

 

Pulmonary

On your pulmonary unit, many of your COPD patients receive injections of heparin to prevent pulmonary emboli, and patients find the bruises associated with heparin injections unsightly. You’ve had nursing students shadowing you lately, so you’ve been particularly concerned with injection technique. You want to find out if the duration of injection has any effect on the extent of bruising.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario.

 

Wound Care

A diabetic patient from a nursing home has recently been admitted with a stage III pressure ulcers on his heels. The unit nurses have called you in for a wound consult. You have to choose between standard moist wound therapy and using a wound vac.

Open to check your PICO analysis of the scenario.

 

Support Research, Teaching, & Learning - Give to the HSL