Saturday, March 3, 2012

Creating a Nursing Portfolio


Most nursing students and nurses create a nursing portfolio to help them keep track of their professional goals, accomplishments, competencies, and skills. For example, an artist creates a portfolio to show their work and accomplishments to future clients.

Nurses in a sense keep a portfolio to show future employers who they are and what they have done. A nursing portfolio is a tool used by nurses to help them secure a nursing job.
When trying to wrap your mind around a nursing portfolio, think of it as a scrapbook that contains everything you have done up to that current moment in your nursing career.
A nursing portfolio does not need to be confused with a resume. A resume is a piece of paper that shows the employer a summary of the nurse’s education, other job experiences, references, and certifications. The portfolio is the supporting documentation of that information.

How to Create a Nursing Portfolio?

Most nursing schools require nursing students to create a nursing portfolio. This is a great way to help the new nurse get started with creating their portfolio. However, some nurses have never created one. Remember that if you are a new nurse your portfolio will not be as in depth when compared to a nurse who has been in the field for several years.
Before you start creating your nursing portfolio you need to compile supporting documents. There is no right or wrong way to compile your supporting documents. Also, keep in mind that you need to include information that highlights your competencies, educational achievements, and skills. Below are suggested documents to include in your portfolio.

What type of information is included in a Nurse Portfolio?

  • Resume
  • College Transcripts
  • 1 page essay on what your personal values and beliefs are on the nursing profession
  • An outline of your plan for professional development with supporting documentation of activities and learning outcomes.
  • Health records which includes immunizations and current physical
  • List of Volunteer Positions with Supporting Documentation
  • List of Professional Organization you are in with Supporting Documentation
  • Your Job Description
  • Performance Evaluations
  • Competency Checklists
  • Copy of your Nursing License
  • Certifications with renewal dates
  • Samples of Academic Work such as research
  • Professional Conferences Attended with Supporting Documentation
  • In-services Attended with Supporting Documentation
  • References and Recommendation Letters
  • Peer/Manager Evaluations
  • Lists of Committees you are on and type of work you have contributed to it
  • Educational Projects you have done such as in-services
  • Awards you have received

Tips on How to Organize a Nursing Portfolio

Once you have compiled all of the proper paperwork you need for your nursing portfolio you need to place it into a three ring binder. It is good practice to place the resume at the beginning of the portfolio because this has your name and contact information on it.
Try to organize your documentation in chronological order, if possible. For example, organize in-services based on the date they were completed and so on. However, there is no correct way on how to organize your documentation. Try to organize it in a way that will make sense to the reader.
To help your portfolio look professional be sure to label each section with binder tabs that can be purchased at Walmart. In addition, a table of contents needs to be created and placed in the front of the portfolio.

Your nursing portfolio is yours and should reflect who you are so have fun with it!

Picture found from


  1. Hi Zazzy, If you don't have some semblance of a portfolio, you will need one! This concept (I think) is new, but when I interviewed for a nursing position, I had at my fingertips a lot of this information in a folder. Not only does it organize your thoughts and increase your confidence, but it reflects your work ethic. I am amazed at the RN's that need constant direction.

  2. I just loved this idea from last semester and I recently talked with a fellow student who already started making of her own. So I felt since it was relevant, why not share a blog posting with others. I can't wait to get to work on mine soon.

  3. Hi! I am a nearly graduate of an accelerated BSN program. I have an interview this Friday and this post is exactly what I needed. We were not taught anything at all about this in nursing school. I had heard of it and it was a small assignment for a class to read about what this is, other than that, we have no formal guidance on this. This is truly helped me. With my first degree, we were taught how to do this for education and it was what got me my first teaching job. Thanks for this information.

  4. Anonymous - I'm glad you were able to find this helpful. Thinking good thoughts for you on your interview this Friday! You'll do great, go get'em!

  5. This was helpful, thanks

  6. The ability to advance in the nursing profession is a source of personal fulfillment for nurses. Few professions provide as great a pathway as nursing does for people to advance in their careers. HAAD Dataflow

  7. Portfolios have been a statutory requirement since at least the early 1990's in th UK! Could even be called to show it to our registration body. Would be helpful to add reflections on study / learning experiences....demonstrate learning and use to your many CPD hours (learning) you have completed maybe too...

  8. It is very useful and a portfolio is also a wow factor during an interview. I have had compliments on my portfolio that was a requirement in nursing school. It helps to keep it updated too.