Patient satisfaction with nursing care: A measurement conundrum


B. O’Connell Nursing Research Unit, Q Block, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Verdun Street, Nedlands, Western Australia 6009, Australia. Fax: +61 0893464965; Email: <>


Patient satisfaction is a major indicator of quality care. There are several theories on the types of concepts that should be measured concerning patient satisfaction with nursing care. Given the different theories of patient satisfaction, the issue of accurate measurement of this concept presents nurse researchers, clinicians and leaders with a challenge. This paper will discuss the findings of a patient satisfaction survey that was conducted in two acute care surgical wards, using the revised 28-item La Monica–Oberst patient satisfaction scale and telephone interviews. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Textual data were managed using NUD*IST and analysed for common emerging themes and categories. The findings of the quantitative and qualitative data were compared in order to determine similarities and differences. The survey results revealed very high levels of patient satisfaction; however, the qualitative data revealed some anomalies. Specifically, due to the numbers of nurses involved in the care, some patients had difficulties answering the questionnaire. Moreover, they were unable to discriminate nursing care from the rest of their overall patient experience. Within this study, it seemed that patients’ perceptions of nurses influenced the way patients rated quality nursing care. Based on this information, the authors question the accuracy of the measurement of patient satisfaction and raise issues that need to be considered in order to further clarify the measurement of this concept.