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  • Nursing Resources: PICO

    What is Evidence-Based Practice (EBP)?

    Definition: Evidence-Based Practice integrates best current evidence with clinical expertise and patient/family preferences and values for delivery of optimal health care.  — QSEN Institute

    PICO Tutorial


    PICO is a process used in evidence-based practice to help formulate questions.

    Frame the question:  Does hand washing reduce hospital acquired infections?

    PICO Elements Example
    (patient/problem) Hospital acquired infection
    I  (intervention) Hand washing
    (comparison) No hand washing, other solutions, masks
    (outcome) Reduced infection

    Create a search strategy:  Use Boolean Operators  AND, OR 

    Boolean Operator Search  Terms Results


    (narrows search)

    handwashing AND infection

    Retrieves citations with BOTH terms present


    (expands search)

    cross infection


    hospital infection

    Retrieves citations with either/any of the terms

    AND, OR

    handwashing OR hand washing


    cross infection OR hospital infection

    Retrieves citations with either form of handwashing, 

    then searches those records for cross infection or hospital infection