Nursing Research Paper: Sample PICOT Paper

Research PaperNursing

A PICOT paper is a type of academic coursework assigned to student nurses. Its purpose is to develop nurses’ research skills and their ability to contribute to evidence-based practice. This project aims to answer a research question by comparing at least two interventions. This sample PICOT paper is representative of the kind that most students are required to submit as part of their curriculum.

Evidence-based research is one of the pillars of competent practice in the nursing profession. Any nurse understands that nursing practice must be grounded on knowledge generated through sound research, for it is through evidence-based research that a nurse can ensure that the care provided is geared towards achieving positive outcomes. Various research types and  research methods exist, and the nurse can choose based on the needs of the research project. But one approach that has been gaining momentum in the past few years is the PICOT question , which offers nurses a simple, effective, and adaptable framework for conducting research. This paper applies the PICOT question framework to research the effect of combining conflict resolution strategies and mindfulness activities on lateral violence.

What is PICOT?

In their landmark publication titled The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health , The Institute of Medicine (2011) remarked upon the expanding role of nurses in improving practice through research. It is apt, therefore, that nurses master using PICOT as a tool for generating new knowledge. The PICOT question is essentially a framework that comes in the form of a question. The question, in turn, serves to guide the research process. PICOT is an acronym that represents five elements. P stands for patient or population, which refers to the subject of the study. "I" stands for intervention, which refers to the treatment, medication, or specific practice that will be applied.  C stands for comparison, which refers to the group that will receive a different treatment, medication, specific practice, or none at all. O stands for an outcome, which pertains to the effect of the intervention. Finally, T refers to time, which pertains to the time frame (Duquesne University, 2020). This approach is widely adopted today for a number of reasons. For one, PICOT research offers a simple yet effective framework for conducting research, making it ideal for those who wish to perform research but have limited resources. For another, PICOT offers a flexible design. Whether the researcher wishes to use quantitative or qualitative research , PICOT leaves room for that choice. For example, the PICOT can be conducted in the conventional clinical setting such as when designing routine physical exercises for patients diagnosed with coronary artery disease or when planning meals for diabetics 

Lateral Violence: Effects and Remedies

Lateral violence is one of the issues confronting nurses in every setting. Lateral violence is defined as “deliberate and harmful behavior demonstrated in the workplace by one employee to another, is a significant problem in the nursing profession” (Christie & Jones, 2013). This issue may manifest in different ways. Some of the more common manifestations of lateral violence include intimidation of workmates, being hypercritical, gossiping about others, denying support, excluding and isolating others, blaming others, and criticizing without providing solutions.

Although lateral violence is not always recognized, partly due to it sometimes being mistaken as part and parcel of or masked by an inherently stressful and fast-paced working environment, it has negative consequences for nurses, the healthcare system, and the populations served. Multiple studies have shown that lateral violence is associated with higher rates of dissatisfaction, burnout, and staff turnover (Roberts, 2015). Lateral violence also negatively impacts patient outcomes. Since this issue causes undue stress in nurses and prevents them from attaining optimal performance, the quality of care likewise suffers, thereby resulting in poorer outcomes for patients (Rainford et al., 2015). Ultimately, lateral violence keeps the healthcare system from achieving top shape (Bambi et al., 2018).

Many approaches have been devised to prevent lateral violence and mitigate its effects. These include conflict-resolution strategies, team-building activities, the formulation of human resources policies, and mindfulness routines (Sanner-Stiehr & Ward-Smith, 2017). But while many strategies for remedying lateral violence exist, few studies have made comparisons among them and even fewer have examined the effectiveness of combining one or more strategies. Hence, this PICOT seeks to generate new information that may help bridge this gap. The PICOT question is as follows: Among nurses in the medical ward experiencing lateral violence (P), does utilize an approach that combines conflict resolution training and mindfulness (I) lead to decreased incidence of lateral violence (O) than just conflict resolution training (C) within a four-month period (T)?

Research Design

The focus of the study will be on the general level of stress related to lateral violence as experienced by nurses who will agree to join the study. Therefore, this PICOT paper will conduct primary research. This means the project can only begin collecting data once the ethical committee grants approval. The research will be primarily qualitative and will utilize semi-structured interviews that will be conducted before, during, and after the provision of the intervention.

The project seeks to enroll at least 20 participants from the medical ward. Since the project requires a significant number of participants, the study will have to be conducted in a large healthcare facility where staffing levels are high. Upon acquiring informed consent, the participants will be randomly assigned to two groups of 10 members each. Initial data collection will assess the groups for the presence of lateral violence as well as stress levels using the Perceived Stress Scale. Once initial data has been collected, the two groups will then receive weekly training. The first group (intervention group) will receive a two-hour training on conflict resolution strategies once a month complemented by a two-hour training on mindfulness. The second group (control group) will receive only a two-hour training on conflict resolution strategies. Midpoint data will be taken after two months using the same semi-structured interview and stress scale. The intervention will continue for two more months, after which the participants will again be assessed using the same instruments as before. Data collected will then be analyzed via coding, which involves clustering responses according to the theme. Results from the stress level scale will also be compared for changes to perceived stress levels. The analysis will determine if the outcome is better for participants who will receive a combination of conflict resolution and mindfulness training than participants who will receive conflict resolution training alone.


The PICOT method is one of the most important tools nurses can use to conduct research today. Because of its simplicity and flexibility, it can be used in different settings and varying scales. Lateral violence is a pervasive issue in nursing, capable of causing negative consequences for nurses, their patients, and the healthcare system as a whole. While different strategies can be used for addressing this issue, few have attempted to combine strategies for better results. This PICOT paper seeks to generate new knowledge that may help in ending lateral violence by examining the effect of combining conflict resolution strategies training with mindfulness training. In the event that the results confirm the expected outcome, this will help nurses and organizations in addressing this problem.

A PICOT paper is one of the most important assignments student nurses are expected to complete. However, it is by no means the only one. In fact, student nurses can expect to write a lot more including nursing research papers, dissertationsnursing essays, and theses . If you feel overwhelmed by nursing school, you can always ask for the expert help of a professional writer from CustomEssayMeister. Our writers are proficient in the health sciences and will be more than happy to aid you in achieving success.

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Bambi, S., Foa, C., De Felippis, C., Lucchini, A., Guazzini, A., & Rasero, L. (2018). Workplace incivility, lateral violence and bullying among nurses. A review about their prevalence and related factors. Acta Biomedica, 89(6), 51-79. doi: 10.23750/abm.v89i6-S.7461

Christie, W. & Jones, S. (2014). Lateral violence in nursing and the theory of the nurse as wounded healer. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 19(1). DOI: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol19No01PPT01

Duquesne University. (2020, September 26). Formulating a PICOT question .

Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine. (2011). The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. National Academies Press (US).

Rainford, W. C., Wood, S., McMullen, P. C., & Philipsen, N. (2015). The disruptive force of lateral violence in the health care setting. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 11 (2), 157-164.

Roberts, S. J. (2015). Lateral violence in nursing: A review of the past three decades. Nursing Science Quarterly, 28 (1), 36-41. doi:10.1177/0894318414558614

Sanner-Stiehr, E. & Ward-Smith, P. (2017). Lateral violence in nursing: Implications and strategies for nurse educators. Journal of Professional Nursing, 33(2), 113-118.

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