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Walden University PICOT Question Design for a Clinical Problem Response

Clinical Interest/PICOT Question

   According to Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt, clinicians should be able to maximize information retrieval with the least amount of time investment regarding clinical inquiry research (2018). The PICOT format helps in this endeavor, which stands for population of interest, intervention or issue of interest, comparison, outcome expected, and time (Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt, 2018). Having worked as a PACU nurse, an area of clinical interest to me is pain management in post-surgical patients. My PICOT question is can both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic pain management treatments enhance pain control five days after surgery in an adult patient?

Databases and Search Results 

 To research this question, I utilized ProQuest and CINAHL databases. To start I used the terms “pain management” to search, which produced 20,500 results on ProQuest and 21,460 on CINAHL. Then, I applied some filters, to include full text, peer reviewed, and within the last 5 years. To further narrow these results, I added a Boolean search parameter, which allows you to search for combinations of works or phrases in a specific order (Library of Congress, n.d.). For the Boolean search I added  “surgical patients”, which resulted in 3,070 and 5,180 respectively. 

Strategies for Increasing Effectiveness of Search 

 A strategy to improve the effectiveness of my search is to include more words from my PICOT question into the Boolean search.  This will improve the specificity of the articles produced by the search, as they will contain all of the key words inputted (Stillwell et al., 2009). Some of the keys words I would add include “pain management” and “post surgical”. 


Library of Congress. (n.d.). Search/browse help- Boolean operators and nesting. Retrieved June 21, 2021, from…

Melnyk, B. M., & Fineout-Overholt, E. (2018). Evidence-based practicein nursing & healthcare: A guide to best practice (4th ed). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer. 

Stillwell, S.B.,Fineout-Overhold, E., Melnyk, B.M., & Williamson, K.M. (2010). Evidence-based practice step-by-step: Searching for evidence. American Journal of Nursing, 110(5), 41-47. 


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