1. Lindseth, Glenda N. PhD, RN
  2. Denny, Dawn L. PhD, RN, ONC


Nurses commonly care for patients with cholecystitis, a major health problem with a growing prevalence. Although considerable research has been done to compare patient outcomes among surgical approaches for cholecystitis, few studies have examined the experiences of patients with cholecystitis and the subsequent cholecystectomy surgery. A qualitative study with a phenomenological approach was initiated to better understand the experience of hospitalized patients with cholecystitis through their cholecystectomy surgery. Face-to-face semistructured interviews were conducted with patients diagnosed with cholecystitis and scheduled for a cholecystectomy at a rural, Midwestern hospital in the United States. Postoperative interviews were then conducted with the patients who experienced an uneventful cholecystectomy. Giorgi's technique was used to analyze postoperative narratives of the patients' cholecystectomy experiences to determine the themes. Following analysis of interview transcripts from the patients, 5 themes emerged: (a) consumed by discomfort and pain, (b) restless discomfort interrupting sleep, (c) living in uncertainty, (d) impatience to return to normalcy, and (e) feelings of vulnerability. Informants with acute cholecystitis described distressing pain before and after surgery that interfered with sleep and family responsibilities. Increased awareness is needed to prevent the disruption to daily life that can result from the cholecystitis and resulting cholecystectomy surgery. Also, nurses can help ease the unpredictability of the experience by providing relevant patient education, prompt pain relief, and an attentive approach to the nursing care.