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To compare English, Finnish, Greek and Swedish orthopaedic and trauma patients' perceptions of nursing care received during hospitalisation.Patient perceptions are important when evaluating nursing care delivery. Evaluations usually take place sub-nationally though European citizens may be treated throughout the European Union. International comparative studies are possible because of the universal nature and philosophical roots of quality in nursing care. They are needed to assist in improving care outcomes.A cross-sectional, comparative study design was used.The Schmidt Perception of Nursing Care Survey was used to obtain data from orthopaedic and trauma patients in acute hospitals in four countries: Finland (n = 425, response rate 85%), Greece (n = 315, 86%), Sweden (n = 218, 73%) and UK (n = 135, 85%). Data were first analysed using descriptive statistics, then between-country comparisons were computed inferentially using a one-way analysis of variance and a univariate analysis of covariance.Between-country differences were found in patients' perceptions of the nursing care received. Over the whole Schmidt Perception of Nursing Care Survey the Swedish and Finnish patients gave their care the highest assessments and the Greek patients the lowest. The same trend was seen in each of the four sub-scales: Seeing The Individual Patient, Explaining, Responding and Watching. Responding was given the highest assessments in each participating country and Seeing the Individual Patient the lowest except in Greece.Further research is needed to consider whether the between-country differences found are caused by differences between cultures, nursing practices, roles of healthcare personnel or patients in the different countries. The Schmidt Perception of Nursing Care Survey is suitable for the assessment of European orthopaedic and trauma patients' perceptions of nursing care received during hospitalisation.The results are useful in evaluating and developing nursing care in hospitals from different European countries.