What is this article about?
Most nurses carry out a cursory listen for bowel sounds, but you may not realise how variable and important these sounds can actually be. As with most things learned at university, it is easy to forget the particulars once you are working on a nursing floor. Instead of really focusing on the sounds, you may simply write down what you think you hear. This can be a problem because changes in bowel sounds may indicate problems with the patient long before other signs emerge. For instance, the absence of bowel sounds after surgery can indicate an ileus before the patient starts vomiting or complaining of abdominal pain.