The maintenance of physical distance, the absence of relatives and the relocation of registered nurses to COVID-19 units presumably affects nursing care at non-COVID-19 units. Using a qualitative design, this study explored registered nurses’ experiences of how COVID-19 influenced nursing care in non-COVID-19 units at a Danish university hospital during the first wave of the virus. The study is reported using the COREQ checklist. The analysis offered two findings: (1) the challenge of an increased workload for registered nurses remaining in non-COVID-19 units and (2) the difficulty of navigating the contradictory needs for both closeness to and distance from patients. The study concluded that several factors challenged nursing care in non-COVID-19 units during the COVID-19 pandemic. These may have decreased the amount of contact between patients and registered nurses, which may have contributed to a task-oriented approach to nursing care, leading to missed nursing care.