The purpose of this study was to investigate patient satisfaction using an in-depth approach rather than the more common patient survey method. The authors conducted patient interviews and participant-oriented observations between patients, family members, and medical staff in a large teaching hospital to assess patients' perceptions of the quality of care provided on a medical-surgical unit. The observations were classified according to the Donabedian model of quality of care: technical care, interpersonal care, and amenities of care. Technical interactions (92.5%, or n = 123) were most common, followed by interpersonal interactions (5%, or n = 7) and interactions related to amenities of care (2%, or n = 3). Of the patients interviewed, 89% (n = 40) were satisfied with the treatment and quality of care they received. Of the 10% (n = 9) of patients who reported dissatisfaction with the hospitalization, most of the complaints were related to surgical procedures. Observations and patient interviews may provide a more informative and accurate assessment of patient satisfaction than a reliance on patient surveys as the sole measure.