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Strategies for Nurses’ Academic Portfolios

A portfolio is a document presenting a person’s education, skills, professional achievements, and work experience. Creating a portfolio is similar to building a brand in marketing and is the most efficient way to demonstrate one’s competencies and provide a record of one’s ongoing development to peers, employees, and educational faculty. In nursing, a well-designed portfolio allows the health professional to demonstrate their progress and provide a comprehensive view of their career path toward a skilled nurse.

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A well-developed portfolio contains an overview of a nurse’s education, licensure, and employment history supported by evidence. It is “a chronological, visual representation of a nurse’s professional growth” (Clarke, 2019, para. 3). The portfolio does not replace a curriculum vitae (CV) but works as a supporting document that validates the facts stated in the CV (Clarke, 2019). While a CV is an overview of a person’s past education, employment, and skills, the portfolio provides a detailed look at their professional accomplishments, knowledge, and experience.

Including information about an individual’s academic activities in their professional portfolio helps to achieve several goals. The first is providing an overview of the continuity of the learning and development process. A portfolio should describe one’s teaching and educational development, scholarship and advancement of knowledge and its applications, and contributions to the university and the community (“Developing a professional nursing portfolio,” 2015). Describing how one incorporates their knowledge into their professional practice helps to establish an image of a skilled and competent professional.

The second strategy of portfolio development is to provide evidence of the competencies and expertise developed during one’s education and career. They can include supporting documents, such as “copies of college or graduate school transcripts, licenses, continuing education units, in-service attendance, awards, annual performance appraisals, dates of promotions, and letters of recommendations” (Davis, 2015, p. 4). Including academic evidence in one’s portfolio helps to showcase one’s achievements and clinical competence.

The third approach is to include a statement of one’s academic goals in the professional portfolio. It shows a person’s dedication to advancing their nursing expertise, continuing education, professional development, and career advancement (Davis, 2015). To achieve long-term career goals, nurses need to constantly advance their knowledge, learn new skills, and improve their competence. Therefore, incorporating one’s goals into the portfolio helps to communicate the highest level of commitment to personal and professional growth and development.

Including academic achievements in one’s portfolio is also consistent with the university’s emphasis on social change. Walden University is committed to providing knowledge that “can be applied by its graduate to the immediate solutions of critical societal changes, thereby advancing the greater global goal” (“Vision, mission, and goals,” n.d., para. 1). Nursing is an occupation that benefits the community in general and helps to improve the well-being and quality of life of every individual. This idea can be incorporated into the nursing portfolio through the inclusion of a list of university courses that a nurse applies to their professional practice. Besides, Walden University is committed to the idea of incorporating the students’ knowledge, skills, and abilities into their academic programs (“Vision, mission, and goals,” n.d.). Describing one’s academic achievements, acquired skills, and knowledge in one’s portfolio helps to establish a connection between one’s education, professional practice, and the vision of nursing as an instrument of social change.


Clarke, M. (2019). The importance of a professional nursing portfolio. Health Leaders. Web.

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Davis, C. (Ed.). (2015). Developing a professional nursing portfolio. Nursing Made Incredibly Easy, 13(1), 4. Web.

Vision, mission, and goals. (n.d.). Walden University. Web.

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