Problem and objectiveWaiting is a common human experience. All people experience having to wait at some time in their lives. Waiting has been associated with diminished satisfaction with health care services. Inspired by the work of Album and Isaksen, the hypothesis for the ongoing study; Patient-culture - a qualitative study among hospitalised patients, is that informal relationships among patients during hospitalisation have more influence on wellbeing, understanding of own illnesses and recovery than we until now have recognised. The purpose is to describe patients' experiences of informal relationships, and interpret the meaning of having fellow-patients during hospitalisation. Three main dimensions are explored; attitudes toward own illness, interpersonal relationships and environmental factors. Questions such as how do patients pass time, find out about illnesses, examinations, treatment, and staff members are attended to. The presentation focuses on one theme waiting when hospitalised.MethodsAs I explore patients' social interactions in their day-to-day lives in two adult surgical units at a University Hospital in Denmark an ethnographic research design was chosen. The present findings are based on the qualitative analysis completed to date on a data set consisting of field notes from participant observations and informal interviews. Theoretically the study is guided by the philosophical work of Ricoeur, and anthropological work of Mattingly. It has a narrative analytical approach and is based on participating observations during a period of one and a half year. The material is analysed with inspiration from Mattingly's ideas of narrative and time. ConclusionsAlthough waiting times is not a clinically serious problem, the satisfaction levels of patients with the care they receive have become increasingly important in today's health care environment. The indicative conclusions form this study suggest that nurses play an important role in ensuring that patients are satisfied and receive quality care when waiting.