Background. There are many published qualitative studies in the large volume of literature about hysterectomy documenting themes common to the majority of participants, such as social support, feelings of illness and wellness, pain and resumption of normal life rather than events which were unique or exceptional.
Aim. This study explores the meaning of the experience of abdominal hysterectomy for one woman.
Methods. Single client case study method was used. An overview of case study is presented and the rationale for its selection as an appropriate methodology for this study given. The participant and her ‘significant others’ are introduced.
Findings. Four major themes relating to the participant's experience were identified: doubts and justifications, pain, embodiment and sense of betterness. These are discussed in relation to the participant, the research literature and nursing and medical practice.
Conclusion. Highlighting the case of one woman and analysing her experience as a single case study has produced a depth of material not previously available in other studies. The findings should be of use to staff working in gynaecological nursing, but could also be used in the education of nursing and midwifery students.