Communication Tips – Summarising

Communication tips by Nursing on the Move.

nom-eu-logoAre you a professional or a pre-professional?

Do you use a second or foreign language at work?
Do you have a friend who speaks a foreign language at work or has a cultural background different from colleagues/customers?

Summarising is closely related to paraphrasing, but it is often more extensive. Summarising generally restates all of the important points in a discussion up to that point, rather than just reformulating the most recent statement.

Can I just see if this is right? You first did … . Then you … . Is that right?

Sometimes, it can be helpful to signpost a summary by using time indicators: first, now, …

Let’s see whether we’ve discussed everything. First, …

Now that we have summarised our talk so far, we can …

Like paraphrasing, summarising may be used to check your understanding of what the patient has said. It can also give patients an explicit opportunity to elaborate on or extend their story. This can enhance accuracy and help patients provide the most complete information possible.

Asking short questions such as ‘Is that correct?’ or ‘Would you still like to add something?’ can facilitate this. Be aware that although summarising is helpful, doing it too frequently can disrupt the flow of communication.


For more information, tips and examples, click here.Communication-for-Professionals-logo

© 2016 Communication for Professionals

You can find an overview of all communication tips here.


Essential Communication Skills for Nursing & Midwifery

by Philippa Sully, Joan Dallas

Effective communication skills are crucial in all aspects of nursing and midwifery practice – this book will enable readers to communicate effectively and with confidence in their professional practice. It focuses on the communication skills needed for the development of effective professional and therapeutic relationships…. shop the book

An Evidence-Based Perspective on Greetings in Medical Encounters

by G. Makoul,  A.  Zick, M. Green

Widely used models for teaching and assessing communication skills highlight the importance of greeting patients appropriately, but there is little evidence regarding what constitutes an appropriate greeting… read more

Disclosing Unanticipated Medical Outcomes

24th to 26th October 2016, Victoria, BC, USA
Find more information here.


Published in GI-Mail 09/2016 (English edition). Sign up for GI-Mail here.

Tip: More up to date educational events dealing with communication for doctors and health professionals can be found online in the Education Database »medicine & health«.




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