AIMS:To explore the extent to which patient ratings of perceived caring and person-centredness are associated with perceived nursing care quality in an acute hospital sample of inpatients. BACKGROUND:Self-reported patient experiences have had limited attention in conceptualizations of healthcare quality as described in policy and national standards, as well as in health and nursing care practice. The impact of central nursing concepts such as caring and person-centredness on patient ratings of nursing care quality is largely unknown. DESIGN:A descriptive non-experimental correlational design was used to collect and analyse data from a sample of Australian acute hospital inpatients (n = 210) in December 2012. METHODS:The study collected self-report patient data through a study survey including demographic data and the Caring Behaviours Inventory, the Person-centred Climate Questionnaire, the SF-36 and the Distress thermometer. Descriptive statistics together with Pearson correlation and hierarchical linear regression were used. FINDINGS:Perceived caring behaviours of staff and the person-centredness of wards were significantly associated with nursing care quality as evidenced by Pearson correlations being significant and exceeding the pre-set cut-off of r > 0·5. Staff caring behaviours and ward person-centredness also accounted for more than half of the total variance in perceived nursing care quality as evidenced by the final regression model. Knowledgeable and communicable staff, timeliness of assistance and environmental support stood out as most significantly related to patient perceived nursing care quality. CONCLUSIONS:Patient experiences of caring and person-centredness seem to have an influential role in the extent to which patients experience the quality of nursing care. Knowledgeable and communicable staff, timeliness of assistance and environmental support stand out as most significantly related to patient-perceived nursing care quality.