Introduction: Nursing bedside handover in hospital has been identified as an opportunity to involve patients and promote patient-centred care. It is important to consider the preferences of both patients and nurses when implementing bedside handover to maximise the successful uptake of this policy. We outline a study which aims to (1) identify, compare and contrast the preferences for various aspects of handover common to nurses and patients while accounting for other factors, such as the time constraints of nurses that may influence these preferences.; (2) identify opportunities for nurses to better involve patients in bedside handover and (3) identify patient and nurse preferences that may challenge the full implementation of bedside handover in the acute medical setting. Methods and analysis: We outline the protocol for a discrete choice experiment (DCE) which uses a survey design common to both patients and nurses. We describe the qualitative and pilot work undertaken to design the DCE. We use a D-efficient design which is informed by prior coefficients collected during the pilot phase. We also discuss the face-to-face administration of this survey in a population of acutely unwell, hospitalised patients and describe how data collection challenges have been informed by our pilot phase. Mixed multinomial logit regression analysis will be used to estimate the final results. Ethics and dissemination: This study has been approved by a university ethics committee as well as two participating hospital ethics committees. Results will be used within a knowledge translation framework to inform any strategies that can be used by nursing staff to improve the uptake of bedside handover. Results will also be disseminated via peer-reviewed journal articles and will be presented at national and international conferences.