• bedside handover;
  • grounded theory;
  • patients' perceptions

• The bedside handover is a universal phenomenon in nearly every type of care setting. It has become the chief arena for the intershift handover in contemporary nursing practice. Published literature investigating patients' viewpoints on the location of the bedside handover is sparse.

• The overall aim of this study is to describe and provide an analysis of patients' perceptions of the bedside handover.

• A grounded theory approach to data collection and data analysis was employed to capture surgical patients' views about the bedside handover.

• The analysis tentatively suggests the existence of three categories that describe the patients' perceptions of the bedside handover. ‘Maintaining a Professional Distance’, ‘Establishing Professional Sharing’ and ‘Maintaining Patient Safety.’