Patient evaluations of effectiveness of care and satisfaction with care are useful outcome indicators of pain management. The subjective, multidimensional nature of pain is best evaluated when outcome measures include the richness of qualitative data to more fully capture the range of patient experiences. A descriptive qualitative component was added to the American Pain Society Patient Outcome Questionnaire—Modified (1995) to determine critical indicators in the pain experience affecting patient satisfaction. Four themes emerged from the data as factors affecting patient satisfaction or dissatisfaction: Patient Pain Experience, Patient Views of Health Care Providers, Patient Pain Management Experiences, and Pain Management Outcomes. The result is a typology of factors affecting patient reports of satisfaction. Satisfaction was most likely when providers effectively addressed pain control with the patient as an informed partner. Patients expressed dissatisfaction, even when pain was relieved, when providers appeared uncaring, were slow to respond, or lacked knowledge and skill. Our results offer clinicians new insights into how patients respond to pain, which could enable development of patient-oriented approaches to pain management improving quality and effectiveness of care and increasing patient satisfaction. © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Res Nurs Health 23:486–495, 2000.