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While professional portfolios are a crucial part of a nurse or midwife’s auditing and professional requirements, they can seem overwhelming at times. Yet, according to the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation’s Federal Education Officer, Jodie Davis, some strategies could help manage portfolios simply and effectively.

“I just try to tell people, ‘don’t leave it to the last minute and try and search what you’ve done for the last two or three years- add it as you go,’” she explains.

While portfolios are first and foremost part of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) documentation and a requirement as part of their registration with AHPRA, Ms Davis says taking the time to keep a tidy and up-to-date portfolio will benefit nurses and midwives.

“They can also be used as resumes in people’s CV’s, [and] they can be used to prove to employers, clients and their carers and/or family that they have undertaken learning in certain areas in their workplace,” she adds. Additionally, Ms Davis says employers pay particular attention to the information contained within portfolios.

“Being able to walk into an interview process and say, ‘here’s my portfolio, these are the things that I’ve done over the years that shows that I’m actually really involved in my own learning…’ It shows that people are dedicated to their profession,” she says.

With this in mind, Ms Davis and the ANMF’s Education team offer five tips to ensure a robust and no-fuss portfolio.

  • Include a learning plan to show your progress: “Nurses and Midwives should set out a clear plan of professional education activities they intend to undertake to meet their identified learning needs.”
  • Set achievable short term goals while thinking further ahead: “Keep your learning plan manageable – no more than three to five learning objectives each year. Also, it is perfectly acceptable to develop your learning plan for a multi-year period: You may wish to have a three or five year plan.”
  • Utilise a variety of learning sources: “The type of learning activities selected can be broad and varied. Registrants are encouraged to consider the combined use of multimedia and multiple instruction techniques, eg. face-to-face, simulation, interactive e-learning, self-directed learning.

“Other forms of CPD also include; reading journal articles, researching topics online, postgraduate studies, participating in journal clubs, in-service education, authoring a book chapter or contributing to a journal article.”

  • Identify areas where learning is needed: “Tests and quizzes are ideal for testing your level of knowledge in various areas, and identifying those that you may need to brush up on. Another way to assess your learning needs is to get feedback from your supervisor and co-workers.”
  • Reflect on your learning: “You should consciously reflect on your CPD as it relates to your practice. You can do this by writing a brief summary of your CPD activities, how completing these activities affected your practice and assess your progress against the goals you set for yourself. The ANMF’s CPE website offers a mandatory reflection on completion of your learning topic/s to ensure you are compliant with this element of your portfolio.”

For more information on maintaining a portfolio, members can visit the ANMF’s CPD portal. The portfolio is free for all registrants (no cost to register).