Portfolios are defined as a collection of evidence that attest the attainment and personal/ professional development of students through critical analysis as well as reflection of their contents (Plaza et al., 2007). The role of faculty in the development of student portfolios is to identify and define standards and competencies, define what constitutes appropriate evidence of achievement of identified competencies, and determination of guidelines and timelines for evaluation (Plaza et al., 2007). The role of students, on the other hand, is to select, assemble, present and justify above cited evidence through critical reflection and analysis (Oermann, 2002). This paper is a summary evaluation that will reflect on my portfolio development experience.
Development of the professional portfolio has taught me that I have vast experience in nursing which I can use to market myself to potential employers. Previously, I thought of my nursing competencies as simply limited to my educational certificates and licenses. However, in developing the portfolio, I realized I have other undocumented competencies. These include cases where nursing interventions were successfully applied resulting in positive patient outcomes. Self-reflection has also helped me identify my areas of strengths as well as areas that require further development. For instance, I realized that I need to develop my leadership skills. Self-reflection thus helped me realize I need to continually grow as a professional. The portfolio development process also helped me realize that I need to join professional nursing associations and groups as a professional. Such bodies and associations provide forums and opportunities for continued professional development.
The portfolio development experience has had an impact on my professional self-image. Previously, I did not give much value to my beliefs and philosophies about nursing. The process has, however, made me realize that as a nursing professional; I must have and communicate my philosophy about nursing in my portfolio. Further, the process has helped me realize that I need to always have educational and career goals as this influence my professional self-image. Identification of future personal development goals helps one to plan for the future in a deliberate and organized manner. It also conveys to readers of a portfolio the commitment of the author to life-long learning.
I intend to maintain my professional electronic portfolio throughout my nursing career. I will include the following items and update them as necessary in my portfolio: resume, my personal plan for professional development, performance appraisals, certifications, in-service educational programs attended, list of committees I have participated in and my responsibilities in such committees, materials prepared for patients and staffs, and presentations conducted. I plan to use my professional portfolio to document continuing competence, monitor my professional development, as accompanying documents for job applications and annual performance appraisals, and to apply for promotions.
For the purposes of assessing learning, I prefer portfolios to traditional tools of assessments like checklists. Compared to the traditional tools of assessing learning, portfolios offer a more constructivist approach to the evaluation of student learning. This is because learning in portfolios is constructed by students as they are responsible for selecting and assembling the evidence that shows that they have fulfilled course and learning objectives. In addition, they are responsible for justifying their inclusion of the evidence based on the set objectives. Portfolios also offer a more comprehensive approach to the assessment of student learning as they incorporate a wide range of experiences and documents collected over a period of time. The documents provide evidence of student accomplishments towards meeting personal/ professional development learning needs and goals and areas requiring further learning (Oermann, 2002).
In summary, this paper has reflected on what the portfolio development experience taught me about myself as a professional. Further, it has identified how the process changed my professional self-image. In addition, it has described how I intend to use my electronic professional portfolio. Lastly, it has discussed the merits of portfolios as tools for assessing student learning.
Oermann, M. H. (2002). Developing a professional portfolio in nursing. Orthopedic Nursing, 21(2), 73-80.
Plaza, C. M., Draugalis, J. R., Slack, M. K., Skrepneck, G. H., & Sauer, K. A. (2007). Use of reflective portfolios in health sciences education. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 71(2), 34.