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Simpson Library | Special Collections

Nursing: PICO

Stafford Librarian

Paul Boger's picture
Paul Boger




Simpson Library
1801 College Ave.
Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Finding Articles Written by Nurses

The CINAHL database (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health) covers nursing, allied health, biomedical and consumer health journals, publications of the American Nursing Association, and the National League for Nursing.

It's also a great database to find articles written by nurses.


Healthcare professionals sometimes use the PICO or PICOT format to develop keywords for searching of clinical questions where:

P - Patient or Population

I - Intervention

C - Comparison

O - Outcome

T - Time (sometimes included)

For more information about forming and using a PICO question to search, please see the American Journal of Nursing article  below.

When Should You Use PICO?

  • In practice when you have a question about patient care
  • In academia when you are looking for evidence to support best practices

Using PICO in a Database Search

Using PICO to Formulate a Search Question

MEDLINE/PubMed - PICO Search Tool

MEDLINE/PubMed allows you to search using the PICO Framework:

Trip Database - PICO Search Tool

Trip is a clinical search engine designed to allow users to quickly and easily find and use high-quality research evidence to support their practice and/or care.

To use the PICO search feature, click on "PICO Search" on the Trip database website.