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How to Build a Nursing Portfolio

Students in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program may be familiar with the term nursing portfolio. Both new and experienced nurses should have a portfolio ready to share when they are searching for a job. A portfolio allows prospective employers to view your credentials beyond the contents of your resume. If you don't already have a portfolio, it might be time to put one together.

What Is a Nursing Portfolio?

A nursing portfolio is a collection of documents that demonstrates your professional goals, accomplishments, competencies and skills.

Why Do You Need a Portfolio?

You can think of your nursing portfolio as a sourcebook for future employers. A portfolio serves to validate the information listed on your resume. Your portfolio should show the progression of your nursing career as well as clinical competence, continuing education and professional development. A portfolio is also helpful for keeping your license, records, certifications, degrees and other materials related to nursing in one place so they are easily available when you need them.

What Should You Include in a Nursing Portfolio?

A nursing portfolio is confirmation of your nursing preparation, licensure and employment history. You also need to offer supporting documents, which provide proof of your achievements. If you recently graduated from nursing school or completed an advanced degree program, you may want to provide your transcripts. You should include the following in your portfolio:

  • Title page.
  • Table of contents.
  • Cover letter.
  • Resume.
  • Name, address, contact info, health records.
  • Level of preparation and type of degrees.
  • Professional licensure and specialty certifications.
  • Certification cards such as Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Basic Life Support (BLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and Neonatal Advanced Life Support (NALS).
  • Continuing Education Unit (CEU) certificates.
  • Brief description of nursing roles and responsibilities throughout your career.
  • In-service training.
  • Performance evaluation and goals.
  • Professional development.
  • List of committees and volunteer projects.
  • Examples of professional or scholarly work such as articles or research.
  • Memberships in professional organizations.
  • Letters of recommendation and appreciation.

Do You Need Only a Hard Copy of Your Portfolio?

You should have both a hard copy of your portfolio and an electronic version. How you submit your portfolio for review depends on the interviewer's preference. Some employers may request that you send your portfolio in a digital format.

How Do You Organize a Professional Portfolio?

You can organize your portfolio any way you choose because there is no right or wrong way. Just remember that your portfolio should look professional and not like a scrapbook. Most importantly, it should be easy for the reader to comprehend.

Consider organizing your portfolio using a three-ring binder. By inserting documentation in chronological order, you can develop a timeline of your career. You can add sections with tabs to further categorize your information.

When Will You Use Your Nursing Portfolio?

You'll use your nursing portfolio to market yourself when applying for jobs. The portfolio showcases your clinical expertise and skills so employers can understand your nursing abilities. A nursing portfolio helps them determine if you are a good candidate for the open position in their healthcare facility.

A nursing portfolio showcases all of the critical information that represents your career. A well-maintained portfolio provides employers with insight into your experience, preparation, accolades and scope of practice. A professional portfolio is an additional way to authenticate your qualifications as a nurse.

Every nurse needs a portfolio to move forward in the nursing profession. Are you a nurse seeking employment? Do you have a nursing portfolio? Nurses who do not have a portfolio should start building one to be ready for future opportunities in nursing.

Learn more about The University of Alabama in Huntsville's online RN to BSN program.


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