Professional as they progress in their career, and

Professionalportfolios are an essential resource for nurses to record their developingskills and knowledge as they progress in their career, and are equally vitalfor staff nurses. The key to compiling a strong portfolio is knowing whatconstitutes meaningful evidence of their achievements, and how to structure oneto best represent their professional and personal development. This appliesequally whether the portfolio is being used to record career development orlearning on an academic course. The portfolio needs to reflect the nurse’sapproach to patients, their growing skills in meeting patients’ needs, therationale for their care, and how they work alongside other healthcareprofessionals and agencies. Regardless ofthe reason for producing a portfolio, the principles and processes are similar.

Scholes J, Webb C, Gray M, Endacott R, Miller C, JasperM, McMullan M (2004) define a portfolio as something that: “captureslearning from experience, enables an assessor to measure student learning, actsas a tool for reflective thinking, illustrates critical analysis skills andevidence of self directed learning and provides a collection of detailedevidence of a person’s competence.”This definitioncan equally apply to portfolios used to reflect professional development andstaff job performance. Coffey (2005) suggeststhe collated evidence provides a “series of snapshots” over time, whichrepresent an individual’s experiences and learning from and about practice.A portfolio istherefore not just a description of care activities. It needs to demonstratelearning from a range of care experiences. This is not always obvious, and canbe missed when giving everyday care. Also, some learning occurs at asubconscious level – from being socialised into the nursing role and throughrole modelling professional colleagues’ practice.

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Competence hasbeen defined in many ways. A commonly used formula identifies the attitudes,skills and knowledge needed to act professionally (Neary,2001).  As early as 1956 Bloom et al devised “a taxonomy oflearning objectives”. The objectives were based on the three domains ofattitudes, skills and knowledge, and defined different levels of learningwithin each one.

  This formula is still relevant and each domain has aparticular focus.