The nurse-patient interaction is central to providing nursing care. This qualitative study explores nurses' and culturally diverse patients' experiences within nurse-patient relationships in acute care wards. Eight nurses and their respective patients volunteered to join the study and were interviewed. The three themes identified in relationships between nurses and culturally diverse patients were shared tension, perceived difference and held awareness. It is concluded from the study that relationships between nurses and culturally diverse patients in acute care wards during short episodes of hospitalization are not easy for nurses and need to receive deeper consideration as to how they can be developed more effectively. It is recommended that educational support be provided to develop more effective interactions between nurses and patients with research being carried out to investigate factors that can strengthen culturally diverse patient-nurse interactions in acute care settings.