PICOT is an acronym used to help develop clinical research questions and guide you in your search for evidence:

P = Patient population

I = Intervention or issue of interest

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C = Comparison of interventions or comparison of interests

O = Outcome

T = Time frame

For example, you may wish to research if the timing of IV tubing changes affects the development of CLABSI, using this PICOT model:

In _____(P), what is the effect of _____(I) on ____(O) compared with _____(C) within ______ (T)?

In patients on the acute care medical surgical floor (P), what is the effect of changing continuous IV tubings every 96 hours (I) on the incidence of CLABSI (O) versus every changing continuous IV tubings every 48 hours (C) during a 6-month tracking period (T)?

Assignment Directions

Begin by selecting a topic in nursing or medicine that is of interest to you. Next, use PICOT to format possible research questions about that topic. Provide three possible PICOT research questions related to the chosen topic (each question will have a different direction on the same topic).

Include the following: 

  • Provide a brief description of the topic and background information.
  • Explain the significance of the topic to nursing practice.
  • Provide three clearly stated PICOT questions.

Your paper should: 

  • Include a Title page and a Reference page.
  • Be 2–3 pages (not including the title page and reference list).
  • Use current APA Style to format your paper and to cite your sources.





One of the most common challenges in different departments of healthcare facilities, including the emergency department, is hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). HAIs, which are also referred to as nosocomial infections, are infections that patients will get while they receive treatment for various surgical or medical conditions. Hospital-acquired infections, therefore, occur in all settings of healthcare facilities, including ambulatory clinics, surgical centers, emergency departments, rehabilitation facilities, and long-term care facilities (Haque et al., 2018). Normally all patients that are hospitalized will be susceptible to contracting hospital-acquired infections. However, young children, individuals with compromised immune systems, and elderly people will be more likely to get HAIs (Haque et al., 2018). Other risk factors for hospital-acquired infections include the use of indwelling catheters in healthcare facilities, longer hospital stays, overuse of antibiotics, and failure of healthcare workers to wash their hands (Haque et al., 2018).

In healthcare facilities across the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nosocomial infections will cause at least 99,000 deaths every year and an estimated 1.7 million infections (Khan et al., 2017). Nosocomial infections are therefore caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and pathogens. The most common types of nosocomial infections include pneumonia, such as ventilator-associated pneumonia, bloodstream infections, surgical site infections, and urinary tract infections (Khan et al., 2017).

Significance of the Topic to Nursing Practice

The issue of nosocomial infections is of great significance to nursing practice because such infections heavily undermine the provision of quality health care services to patients. According to Khan et al. (2017), patients who acquired infections in healthcare facilities are more likely to spend an average of additional 6.5 days in the hospital. Patients who acquire infections in healthcare facilities are also more than five times more likely to be readmitted after they are discharged from healthcare facilities and also twice likely to die. According to the CDC, hospital-acquired infections also account for at least 10 billion dollars in healthcare expenditure annually (Khan et al., 2017).

The negative outcomes associated with hospital-acquired infections, including increased hospital stays among patients, a high chance of readmission after discharge, and an increase in the chances of a patient dying, therefore make nosocomial infections a significant issue in nursing practice. In contemporary times nurses are also required to work actively in enhancing the efficiency of healthcare delivery and reducing the cost of health services while assuring patients of quality healthcare services (Khan et al., 2017).

The involvement of nurses in the reduction of hospital-acquired infections is therefore important. Over the years, various scholars have provided numerous evidence-based practices that can be adopted by healthcare practitioners, including nurses, to reduce the rate of nosocomial infections in their health care facilities. These include healthcare providers frequently washing their hands before and after caring for patients, the reduction of the use of catheters in healthcare facilities, use of personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves,  hair covers, and gowns where appropriate, and frequently cleaning of skin where catheters are inserted in the surgical site(Haque et al., 2018).

PICOT Questions

  1. Among patients admitted in a healthcare facility (P), what is the effect of implementing handwashing protocols (I) compared to the use of alcohol-based rubs (C)in reducing the rate of nosocomial infections (O) for a period of 6 months(T)?
  2. Among patients admitted in a healthcare facility (P), what is the effect of wearing personal protective equipment (I) compared to not wearing personal protective equipment(c) in reducing the rate of nosocomial infection (O) for a period of 3 months (T)?
  3. Among patients admitted in a healthcare facility (P), what is the effect of educating patients and caregivers in relation to the maintenance of hand hygiene (I) compared to not educating patients and health caregivers on the maintenance of hand hygiene(C) in reducing the rate of nosocomial infections (O) for a period of  3 months(T)


Haque, M., Sartelli, M., McKimm, J., & Abu Bakar, M. B. (2018). Healthcare-associated infections – an overview. Infection and Drug Resistance, Volume 11, 2321–2333.

Khan, H. A., Baig, F. K., & Mehboob, R. (2017). Nosocomial infections: Epidemiology, prevention, control and surveillance. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 7(5), 478–482.