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Assessing patients’ satisfaction with the care they receive is assuming greater importance and satisfaction with nursing is no exception The kinds of study in which patient satisfaction has been used as an outcome are considered and show the range of conceptualizations and the general lack of rigour in its measurement It is argued that research methods are often flawed by using inappropriate measures and greater care is warranted in their selection Where appropriate measures do not exist, only then is the costly process of developing new assessments warranted Some of the necessary steps in arriving at reliable and valid measures of patient satisfaction are discussed in the context of asking particular research questions