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Bachelor of Science in Nursing

A guide to BSN resources from the EFSC Libraries

PICO Question Format

P = Patient, population, or problem

I = Intervention

C = Comparison or control (if any)

O = Outcome

Use the PICO Worksheet to build your question and search strategy.

Example PICO Question


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.

Construct a clinical question in PICO format.

P = young children

I = distraction techniques during immunization

C = no intervention

O = lower pain scores rated by the Faces pain scale

Clinical Question:

In young children, do distraction techniques during immunization administration using toys result in lower pain scores when compared to no intervention?


PICO Question: Samples with different specialties from University of Kansas Medical Center, Nursing Research Guide, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0