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Using Evidence Based Nursing in Practice: Ask

Created by Health Science Librarians

Step One: Ask

Defining the Question

Issues or questions can arise in a variety of situations.  The use of the evidence based process is not limited to the clinical situation, but can also be useful in the management environment. With such an overwhelming (and rapidly growing) amount of medical information, but a limited amount of time available to search, this step can be one of the most important ones. The creation of a focused and clearly defined question can make efficient use of your time to find a manageable amount of literature to address the information need.

There are generally four parts to question building:  the patient/problem, the intervention, the comparison and the outcome. You may have heard of the acronym PICO to refer to this question building process.

Articles: Using PICO or PICOT

Echevarria, I. M., & Walker, S. (2014). To make your case, start with a PICOT question. Nursing, 44(2), 18-19.

Hastings, C., & Fisher, C. A. (2014). Searching for proof: Creating and using an actionable PICO question. Nursing Management, 45(8).

Stillwell, S. B., Fineout-Overholt, E., Melnyk, B. M., & Williamson, K. M. (2010). Evidence-based practice, step by step: asking the clinical question: a key step in evidence-based practice. American Journal of Nursing, 110(3), 58-61.