In nursing, PICOT stands for “Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome, and Time.” It is a framework for developing clinical research questions that can guide evidence-based practice.
The PICOT format is as follows:
- P: Population or patient problem of interest
- I: Intervention or exposure being considered
- C: Comparison intervention or group
- O: Outcome of interest
- T: Time frame in which the outcome is measured
Sample PICOT questions might include:
- In adult patients with hypertension (P), does regular exercise (I) compared to no exercise (C) lead to a reduction in blood pressure (O) within 6 months (T)?
- In premature infants (P), does breastfeeding (I) compared to formula feeding (C) result in a decrease in the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis (O) during hospitalization (T)?
- In patients with chronic pain (P), does cognitive-behavioral therapy (I) compared to medication management (C) lead to improved quality of life (O) over 12 months (T)?
Overall, the PICOT framework helps nurses and other healthcare professionals to develop focused research questions that can help guide clinical decision-making and improve patient outcomes.
PICO essay sample