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Burning Question

A Burning Question is...

  • Developed from a passion to learn more about a particular subject or topic.
    • Could be something of particular interest
    • Could be wanting to know why a certain nursing practice is done that way.

The Burning Question is important because...

  • It directs the development of a proposal and ultimately the purpose of the work.
  • It guides the project description, the what, where, when and with whom details of the work.
  • Focuses the identification of relationships between concepts.

To develop your Burning Question...

Use the PICO format. This will help focus your question as well as benefit your efforts when searching the literature. Identify each component (if available) and create your question.

Click HERE to download the printable worksheet.

P – Patient, Population, Problem or Program:
What is the Patient Population your burning question pertains to? (Try to be specific)
(older adult, adult, children, pregnant women, etc.)
I – Intervention:
What are you proposing regarding the patient’s care? What is the therapy, intervention, treatment, screening text or exposure?
C – Comparison Intervention (If Applicable)
Do you want to compare a current practice vs. a new practice? Do you want to compare products? Are alternatives being considered?
O – Outcome
What is the outcome you are questioning? What do you think might happen? What to measure, accomplish, improve or affect?

Some Examples

Example 1

Among older adults who are at risk for skin breakdown, do special linens decrease the incidence of pressure ulcers?

P-older adults
I-special linens to some patients; regular linens to others
C-special linens vs regular linens
0-decrease incidence of pressure ulcers

Example 2

Will a protocol to remove urinary catheters in adult Med-Surg patients decrease device days?

P-Med-Surg patients
I-a removal protocol
C-protocol vs. current practice
0-decrease device days

Example 3

Among adult Med-Surg patients with NG tubes, what device adheres best—pink tape or the packaged device (as evidenced by infrequent changing of the device or replacement of the NGT)?

P-adult Med-Surg patients
I-securing device
C-pink tape vs. packaged device
0-best as measured by how often the tube is replaced or how often the device has to be changed, etc.

To Learn more...

Click HERE to watch a multimedia tutorial on PICO and developing the Burning Question.

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