NURS FPX 8045 Assessment 3 Craft a PICOT question and a Search Research

Student Name

Capella University

NURS-FPX 8045 Doctoral Writing and Professional Practice

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Crafting a PICOT Question and Developing a Search Strategy


In healthcare, the precision and focus of clinical questions are pivotal for advancing evidence-based practice. This paper aims to generate a PICOT question relevant to professional interests, specifically focusing on a potential Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) project. The subsequent discussion will elaborate on the creation of a search strategy aligned with the assessment requirements.

Crafting the PICOT Question

In the context of a DNP project, it is crucial to formulate a PICOT question addressing a pertinent issue for a quality improvement endeavor. Utilizing the recommended format, the PICOT question is as follows:

In patients undergoing cardiac surgery (P), how does the implementation of a structured postoperative care protocol (I) compared to standard care (C) influence the incidence of postoperative complications (O) within the first 30 days following surgery (T)?

This question focuses on a specific patient population (those undergoing cardiac surgery) and compares the impact of implementing a structured postoperative care protocol to standard care regarding the incidence of postoperative complications within a defined timeframe.

Search Strategy Development

A comprehensive search strategy is imperative to effectively address the PICOT question. The following outlines key components of the search strategy:

  1. Electronic Databases: Utilizing reputable databases such as PubMed, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Library to access a diverse range of scholarly articles and systematic reviews.
  2. Key Search Terms: Employing a combination of relevant keywords and controlled vocabulary specific to the PICOT elements, such as “cardiac surgery,” “postoperative care,” “complications,” and “structured protocol.”
  3. Exclusion Criteria: Excluding studies that do not focus on the specified patient population (cardiac surgery) or do not report relevant outcomes within the stipulated timeframe.
  4. Literature Review: Reviewing articles to identify evidence-based interventions related to structured postoperative care protocols and their impact on postoperative complications.
  5. Source Selection: Choosing sources based on their relevance to the PICOT elements, methodological rigor, and the applicability of interventions in a DNP project context.

The search strategy aims to gather evidence supporting the implementation of a structured postoperative care protocol in patients undergoing cardiac surgery, contributing to a targeted and effective DNP project.

The search yielded a total of 75 articles from selected databases. After careful examination, 35 articles were retained based on their alignment with the PICOT question and relevance to the DNP project. Excluded sources primarily comprised studies focusing on different surgical populations or lacking detailed information on postoperative complications.


Crafting a PICOT question and developing a search strategy are pivotal steps in preparing for a DNP project. The question should be meticulously framed to address a specific problem, and the search strategy should be comprehensive to gather evidence supporting the proposed intervention. This process ensures that the subsequent DNP project is well-informed and evidence-based.


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Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2021). Methods Guide for Effectiveness and Comparative Effectiveness Reviews. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470399/

Drummond, D., & Collin, C. (2001). Implementing evidence-based changes in healthcare. BMJ, 323(7317), 1025–1026. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7317.1025

Higgins, J. P., & Green, S. (Eds.). (2011). Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of interventions. Wiley.

NURS FPX 8045 Assessment 3 Craft a PICOT question and a Search Research

Melnyk, B. M., & Fineout-Overholt, E. (2019). Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare: A guide to best practice. Wolters Kluwer.

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