The Value of Professional Career Portfolios
Education has played a pivotal role in the field of nursing practice due to its essential contribution of knowledge and skills into the professionals’ competencies. Moreover, the concept of education in the context of nursing is viewed from a two-fold perspective. Firstly, it involves professional training and education of nurses in preparation for their careers. Secondly, it relates to nurses’ efforts in educating their patients and their families for the purposes of health promotion and treatment (Bastable, 2019). Overall, contemporary health care is concerned with the quality of knowledge acquired by patients and their families for independent care and the quality of staff nurses and nursing students’ “up-to-date knowledge and skills needed to competently and confidently render care to the consumer in a variety of settings” (Bastable, 2019, p. 4). Thus, the role of a nurse educator is essential for a quality-driven evidence-based health care setting that prioritizes the improvement of patient outcomes individually and on a global scale.
When advancing one’s career as a nurse educator, one should be able to accumulate and master skills and knowledge necessary for proper practice and education and demonstrate their expertise in a comprehensive manner when seeking employment. In this regard, the value of professional career portfolios is difficult to overestimates since such documents serve as a complete summary of one’s expertise and fit to a particular position. In essence, a professional portfolio for a nurse educator is a method of concise and yet logical and informative display of one’s professional journey characterized by acquired knowledge, skills, and experience (Bastable, 2019). In a well-developed portfolio of a nurse educator, one of the essential elements is the discussion of one’s teaching philosophy. It shows the prioritized approaches and vision of education that a professional considers their core philosophy.
Moreover, a well-tailored portfolio would include a curriculum vitae containing information about one’s skills and expertise, desired position, educational experience, career steps in their chronological order, certification and awards. In addition, the portfolio should contain samples of publications and writings that demonstrated academic involvement of the nurse educator in general and the scope of expertise in particular. Such an information will show to prospective employers what areas of the nursing science the educator is specializing in. Finally, it is important to demonstrate proof of competencies by attaching diplomas, certificates, awards, and other documents that validate one’s proficiency.
When developing my professional portfolio, I plan to include essential elements with emphasis on my strengths throughout. I would provide my education information, completed career stages with the positions and facilities indicated, as well as the responsibilities fulfilled. Moreover, I would ensure that my portfolio contains my remarks and evidence of my efforts aimed at continuous improvement of my expertise and devotion to development for the advancement of practice in the long-term perspective (Bastable, 2019). Some good examples of my academic works and writings will be attached to the portfolio to demonstrate the scope of my scholarly interest and expertise in research.
This element, as well as other points addressed in the portfolio, would be indicative of my awareness of the latest trends in the health care field. In this regard, the focus of contemporary nursing education on the promotion of evidence-based practice, care coordination, and inter-professional health care team management should inform the prioritized skills and knowledge presented in my portfolio (UK College of Nursing, 2018). Such an approach would emphasize that my level of expertise and the objectives I pursue as a nurse educator are aligned with the current trends in health care. For the same purpose, specific skill sets should be highlighted in the resume and portfolio in general; indeed, according to the latest research-based estimations in relation to the nursing education field, “utilization of healthcare information technology (IT) is predicted to persist in expanding considerably” (Fawaz et al., 2018, p. 105). Therefore, I would incorporate the description of my IT skills by indicating the health care software that I use.
When disseminating the portfolio among prospective employers, I would consider the specifications provided by each facility in their requirements for nurse educators’ portfolios. According to Bastable (2019), organizations’ visions and priorities differ, which influences their expectations and requirements for applicants’ portfolios. Therefore, I might adjust the structure, content, or layout of my professional portfolio to comply with the requirements and expectations of each employer I apply to. An important aspect of creating a compelling professional portfolio is the focus that an employer prioritizes. For example, it might be relevant to clarify whether the requiring organization’s focus is on “process evaluation, on outcome evaluation, or on both,” as well as the type of evidence the facility expects in terms of expertise demonstration (Bastable, 2019, p. 619). While obtaining such information directly from the organization prior to the interview might be difficult, one should research the facility’s characteristics to infer their employment procedures and applicant expectations.
The method of portfolio distribution I would choose to apply for nurse educator roles with prospective employers would be online based. I would research the recruiting databases to see what facilities are hiring nurse educators. I would contact employers through the databases or directly via the contact information on their websites. The type of nurse educator role I intend to seek is an academic nurse educator. This role implies the full scope of faculty participation while engaging in promoting high-quality clinical care through the deliberate education of nurses in the academic setting (Christensen & Simmons, 2020). Such a position appeals to my aspiration of changing the quality of nursing practice through deliberate teaching and training in an academic setting. The pursuit of this role is validated by my level of expertise and the scope of practice competencies that are covered in the next section of the essay.
NLN Scope of Practice
As a seasoned registered nurse, I have managed to develop my competency in several pivotal areas. In particular, through my experience, I have acquired the skills of critical thinking and analysis of nursing practice. These skills have become a solid basis for my academic accomplishments and my professional growth as a nurse. In addition, I have mastered effective engagement in therapeutic and professional relationships. This competency allows me to build productive collaborations with colleagues and peers, which drives positive change in the nursing practice in general. I am competent at maintaining the capability for practice and conducting comprehensive assessments. In addition, I am skilled in developing a plan for nursing practice, providing safe, appropriate, and responsive quality nursing practice. These competencies have been essential for my proper performance as a registered nurse and will be a substantial background for my future development as a nurse educator.
National League for Nursing (NLN) provides a substantial overview of the scope of practice of nurse educators. According to this organization, leadership in education is a core element of the continuous transformation of the nursing profession toward quality assurance, evidential basis, and innovative solutions (National League for Nursing [NLN], 2022). Academic nurse educators who perform in the full scope of the role are expected to be competent in eight essential areas. Firstly, an academic nurse educator is expected to facilitate learning (NLN, 2022). Secondly, they are expected to “facilitate learner development and socialization” (NLN, 2022, para. 3). Thirdly, a competent nurse educator should “use assessment and evaluation strategies;” fourthly, they must “participate in curriculum design and evaluation of program outcomes” (NLN, 2022, para 3). The fifth competence is the pursuit of “systematic self-evaluation and improvement in the academic nurse educator role” (NLN, 2022, para. 3). Sixthly, a nurse educator should “function as a change agent and leader” (NLN, 2022, para. 3). The seventh competency involves active engagement in the scholarship of teaching; and finally, the eighth practice standard predetermines effective functioning “within the organizational environment and academic community” (NLN, 2022, para. 3).
The practice standards I already feel comfortable/competent at performing include the use of assessment and evaluation strategies and the ability to function effectively in the organizational environment and academic community. However, I still need to develop or improve my professionalism in relation to the remaining six practice standards. For the purposes of improving my capabilities in facilitating learning, I intend to research effective teaching strategies and acquire necessary skills by observing peer nurse educators in the academic setting. Such an approach to continuous competency improvement is coherent with the overall principles of nursing education that encourage teamwork and inter-professional knowledge exchange (Bastable, 2019). Similarly, I have to work on the second competency, which deals with the facilitation of learner development and socialization. For that reason, I plan to expand my knowledge on learning styles to incorporate this information into my practice as an educator.
Furthermore, when improving my capabilities of curriculum designing and evaluation program development, I need to engage in peer observation and collaboration. Such an approach will allow for my understanding of curriculum forming principles and the improvement of my familiarization with relevant theories and strategies. When developing my expertise as a change promoter and a leader, have to develop some soft skills, and interpersonal communication. I would engage in researching and applying appropriate leadership styles to ensure consistency of my role as a leader. To ensure my compliance with the sixth competency, I intend to research self-evaluation tools applicable to the nursing practice and apply them systematically for proper tracking of my long-term learning goals achievement.
In order to improve my expertise in relation to the seventh competency, I would ensure research scholarship opportunities in the field of nursing education. In addition, I would consider engaging in cooperation with other nurses and nurse educators within nursing organizations for professional development and cooperation in the direction of improving the nursing profession. Such an approach to facilitating my competencies in performing in a role of a nursing educator will enhance my overall professionalism and allows for building a substantial basis for leading change in nursing in the long-term perspective.
Bastable, S.B. (2019). Nurse as educator: Principles of teaching and learning for Nursing practice (5th ed.). Jones & Bartlett.
Christensen, L. S., & Simmons, L. E. (2020). The scope of practice for academic nurse educators and academic clinical nurse educators (3rd ed.). National League for Nursing.
Fawaz, M. A., Hamdan-Mansour, A. M., & Tassi, A. (2018). Challenges facing nursing education in the advanced healthcare environment. International Journal of Africa Nursing Sciences, 9, 105-110. Web.
National League for Nursing. (2022). Strengthening the future of the nursing workforce. Web.
UK College of Nursing. (2018). Dr. Marion Broome – Innovation in nursing education [Video]. YouTube.