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How to Write a Professional Nurse Portfolio

by Ellie Williams, studioD

An effective nursing resume outlines your professional achievements, but a portfolio goes a step further, offering documentation of these accomplishments to potential employers. At a glance, recruiters can see the contributions you made at previous organizations and how you’ve progressed as a clinician. By offering this in-depth look at what makes you unique as a nurse, you immediately distinguish yourself from other candidates.


Your portfolio should include vital information such as your resume, academic transcripts from each college or university you’ve attended, diplomas and nursing licenses. Also include copies of nursing and healthcare-related certifications and membership cards for professional associations. Keep your portfolio updated, adding anything that showcases your nursing skills, knowledge and career milestones. Customize it for each job, promotion or award you apply for, including only the most relevant information. Keep everything in a three-ring binder divided with index tabs by category. For example, place your academic records in one section and your performance reviews in another.

Job Performance

Include the most current copy of your job description, along with annual reviews and other documentation that outlines your duties and job performance. Also, highlight your clinical knowledge and skills in patient care by writing a summary of cases in which you played a significant role in diagnosing or treating the patient. You might also include letters of recommendation from personal references, copies of patient education materials or care plans you’ve created and thank-you letters from patients, family members or your fellow healthcare staff.


Employers will likely want to see that you’re committed to lifelong learning and to refining your skills, so document all ongoing training in your portfolio. In addition, most states require continuing education for licensure renewal, so demonstrate that you take this requirement seriously by including certificates for all training completed. Also keep an updated record of inservice you’ve participated in at your facility. Include information about one-on-one training such as preceptorships, summarizing what you learned and adding notes, evaluations or other records from your preceptors.

Philosophy and Research

A nursing portfolio should supplement your resume, by showcasing your personality and your thoughts on the nursing profession. Add a summary describing your approach to nursing, along with copies of journal articles you’ve authored and materials related to presentations you’ve made. If you’ve served as a preceptor or mentor for other nurses, describe how you guided them and contributed to their growth and development. Also note any grants, awards or funding you’ve received for projects or research, and include a copy of the award letter, a summary of the study and what role you played.

About the Author

Ellie Williams has been a journalist since 2001. Her work has been recognized by her state's press association and by her local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Williams graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications and humanities, with minors in French and theater.

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