This descriptive study examines the outcomes of care from the perspective of patients following a recent orthopaedic admission at a teaching hospital in Sydney. Results were extracted and analysed from transcripts of audio-taped focus groups. Participants identified five nursing activities that made a positive difference to patient outcomes. These activities were: (i) patient-controlled analgesia; (ii) water-filled gloves placed under patients’ heels; (iii) cream rubbed into patients’ heels; (iv) an explanation, at pre-admission clinic, of the impending operation; and (v) being informed about the details of their treatment while in hospital. Three activities that participants felt made a negative difference to their outcome were also identified, as were seven activities not performed by nursing staff that participants felt would have made a positive difference to their outcome. The results from this study reinforce the importance of basic nursing care, and the value of measuring outcomes, not only from the professional perspective, but also from the patients’ viewpoint.