Communication between hospital staff and in-patients, especially regarding the provision of information, has been found to be inadequate although improving information-giving has been demonstrated to have a number of beneficial effects While the ward round might be a particularly valuable setting for communication, few studies have explored the multidisciplinary nature of rounds This study obtained the views of 33 consultants, 14 nurses and eight patients and observed three ward rounds in order to determine the nature of present round functioning, and the nurse's role in such a round The results showed that the rounds studied were not being conducted in a democratic fashion medical staff dominated and other health care professionals had little involvement Patients received few explanations and had great difficulty understanding the discussion The functions nurses were seen to perform involved primarily providing information for medical staff It is recommended that patients are more involved in rounds and are given more explanations and encouraged to ask questions Nurses should be educated to assert themselves in ward rounds in order to fulfil roles they prescribe for themselves, and all professionals should aim towards more democratic, equal discussion There is a need for further research to determine the effectiveness of nurse intervention on patient involvement and satisfaction with the round