Accessible version | Skip to content | Change your text size

Table of contents

Previous pageNext page

Summary and diagnosis structure

4. Summary and diagnosis

The summary must draw on all areas in the earlier parts of the report. New information cannot be introduced.

Essentially the summary will contain a brief outline of:

  • Who the patient is
  • What their problems are
  • What effects the problems are having on the patient

As well as a brief indication of:

  • Why the problems arose (precipitating factors)
  • How the problems arose (predisposing factors)
  • Factors influencing progression/ the course of the problems (perpetuating and protective factors)

Features may be drawn from all aspects of the history and examination, and should include relevant negatives (features of the diagnosis and differential diagnoses that are not present).

The diagnosis will require you to synthesise signs and symptoms in the case report to identify core problems. You should explicate your reasoning for drawing the links between signs and symptoms and diagnostic decision-making. In other words, what important aspects in the History, Mental State Examination and Physical Examination lead you to making the provisional diagnosis? Pick out the relevant pieces of these sections and make links with the final diagnosis (and differential diagnoses).

One way to approach explaining your reasoning is for you to take each differential diagnosis and write down the pros and cons evident in the earlier parts of your report that serve to support or discount the likelihood of the differential diagnosis.

Sample text and writing tips

word outputDownload a printable version of this page (.doc)
Problems? Questions? Comments? Please provide us feedback.