Patient participation in decision making concerning nursing needs is an important aspect of high quality care, of interest for both planning and implementing care. However, patients' perspective on participation in clinical decision making has not been studied extensively and the literature is inconclusive of what roles patients prefer to adopt. The aim was to investigate associations between patient demographics and preferences for participation in clinical decision making and to compare patients and RNs perceptions of the patients' preferences for participation. A cross sectional study including 80 nurse-patient dyads was adopted. The Control Preference scale was used to collect data. The findings showed that younger and more educated patients preferred to be more active in some aspects of decision making than older and less educated patients did. Further, in comparison with RNs inference of patient preferences for participation, patients preferred to be more passive in decision making in relation to nursing needs in general, as well as for physical and psychosocial needs. Differences in perceptions between patients and RNs concerning patient participation could hamper high quality care and need to be addressed.