How Nurses Can Use the PICO Search Strategy in CINAHL Ultimate


The PICO search strategy is a way for nurses and nursing students to streamline their search process. This video highlights how to use the four elements of PICO (problem, intervention, comparison and outcome) to develop a good clinical research question prior to starting their research in a comprehensive nursing database like CINAHL Ultimate.

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How Nurses Can Use the PICO Search Strategy in CINAHL Ultimate

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Searching for high-quality clinical research evidence can be a daunting task, yet it is an integral part of the evidence-based practice process.

Let’s say you want to determine if there’s evidence that needleless, intravenous systems reduce needlestick injuries.

One way to streamline and improve your research process is to utilize the PICO search strategy.

PICO is a format for developing a comprehensive clinical research question prior to starting your research.

What’s the best way to put PICO into practice? Just follow these steps:

Formulate the PICO question by determining the problem or population to study, the Intervention or action to take, the Comparison action to take, and the Outcome expected.

Begin by identifying keywords for each PICO element.

Within CINAHL Ultimate, click on the PICO search button to access the PICO search bar.

Plan your search strategy for CINAHL Ultimate. Utilize the CINAHL thesaurus and CINAHL subject headings to refine your search

Execute the search using exact phrases and Boolean operators, such as “and”, “or” and “not.”

Refine the results by adding limiters to your search, including limiting by date, publication type, language and more.

Assess the evidence to determine the level and strength of the research results.

By utilizing the PICO search strategy, you'll have a simple way to address complex clinical questions.

The process will yield the best available evidence to support clinical decisions and help improve patient outcomes.

Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors.