Flatus problems are not uncommon among gastroenterological clients and those in other care settings. Yet what clients and nurses do productively about those problems in regard to their actions and interactions and why they do so has not previously been the focus of research. Holistic health management requires trustworthy qualitative evidence to guide best practice in this regard. This study systematically developed a substantive grounded theory that details and explains the trajectory of the basic social process: seeking relief from being discommoded (inconvenienced, troubled) by flatus in the situational context of client–nurse interactions. In the theory, there is also a focus on the context of nursing care situations, possible constraints, and likely outcomes.
Grounded theory method was applied. Data were collected through semistructured individual interviews, nonparticipant observation, and document analysis regarding incidents and situations involving 38 participants–clients and registered nurses. The results show that clients, when trying to do something about the situation, can be severely discommoded by flatus problems and are hampered by embarrassment and the social taboo about admitting that one is bothered by flatus. The individual may or may not disclose the problem to a nurse, and nurses may or may not be attuned to these problems. There are ways for nurses to be helpful in these situations and possible remedies are identified in this article.
Merilyn Annells, PhD, RN, is Professor, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.
Correspondence to: Merilyn Annells, PhD, RN, Professor, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, 3086 Australia (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Received July 25, 2006; accepted May 11, 2007.