Developing a Portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of documents outlining your work experiences, skills and achievements. It can be organized in a file, binder or an electronic format. By collecting and storing this information throughout your nursing career, you will become more aware of the abilities and skills you possess, and have an excellent way to market your qualifications to an employer.

A portfolio does two important things:

  1. helps you to focus on the milestones of your career, allows you to look back and review your accomplishments, helps you to set goals for your future and helps to identify what will be needed to achieve those goals.
  2. presenting your portfolio to a prospective employers tells the employer that you are serious about your nursing career and it’s advancement, that you are reflective and organized, and that you have your competencies, to design an orientation program that best meets your needs, and to work with you to achieve your identified goals.

A portfolio can be in hard copy, electronic, or both. Electronic portfolios can be designed as web pages and post to an internet location or stored in a CD-ROM, computer (flash drive) or DVD, to be used as a tool to supplement the hard copy version of your portfolio. Documents stored electronically should be printed out as needed for employment, licensure, and other purposes. Portfolio development consist of a number of steps:

  1. Consider your career thus far and determine what you consider to be the most important and most significant achievements of your career so far.
  2. Collect all representative documents that showcase your academic and professional accomplishments and organize them into sections: for example, education, work experience, publications and presentations, memberships, continuing education, and awards. You might also provide a separate section for your short term and long term goals. Documents can be organized chronologically, from the beginning of your career to the present time.
  3. Create a paper file by making copies of original documents. Retain the originals and provide the copies when presenting your portfolio. If you choose to create an electronic portfolio, scan the documents onto a CD-ROM, DVD. or a flash drive. Back up files should be created on your personal computer. Copies of the documents collected for portfolios include, but not limited to:
    • Academic experiences, for example transcripts, reports you developed, presentations you gave, copies of positive faculty evaluations, skills assessments, and summaries of research projects you completed;
    • Work Related documents, such as letters of recommendation, performance evaluations, and special recognitions.
    • Community activities that you participated;
    • Awards you received;
    • List of short term and long term goals;
    • An updated resume and cover letter.