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STUDENT BLOG

'Your portfolio is a tactile reminder of how far you've come'

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As a first year student, I felt overwhelmed when my lecturer told our cohort that we needed to complete a summative portfolio for submission at every stage of our training

Further, we were informed we had to map our learning to NMC pre-registration nursing competencies (NMC 2010), the NMC Code of Practice (NMC, 2015) and the The Ten Essential Shared Capabilities (DoH, 2004).

The portfolio had to demonstrate my continuing professional development and the application of knowledge I had gained.

I remember going out on my first clinical placement at stage one thinking how I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Looking back I feel perhaps I worried too much about the requirements of my portfolio. I was a stage one student after all - nobody expected me to be an expert.

”As you can imagine this included a lot of information, but it also helped me gain some confidence in myself through reflecting on my experiences”

When thinking about my portfolio at stage one, I began by putting together a Strengths, Limitations, Opportunities and Challenges (SLOC) document and further included an action plan.

As you can imagine this included a lot of information, but it also helped me gain some confidence in myself through reflecting on my experiences, as well as making me acutely aware of only practicing within my limited range of my competence at that time.

”This could be as simple as remembering that a particular patient liked to have Marmite on their toast in the morning and ensuring it was always available for them to deliver the person-centred care they deserved.”

From my action plan, I felt the best place to start thinking about my portfolio was through applying my practice to the NMC Code (2015) and thought in simple terms about how I could preserve dignity when assisting people with basic care needs. This could be as simple as remembering that a particular patient liked to have Marmite on their toast in the morning and ensuring it was always available for them to deliver the person-centred care they deserved.

From this starting point, I began to gain more knowledge and experience as well as regular supervision with my mentor in clinical practice and supervisor at University. I slowly began to gain more knowledge and show the development of competencies through work products, reflective writing, testimonials and direct observation.

”At the end of stage one I was amazed at the breadth and depth of my first portfolio; it was a visual and tactile reminder of how far I had come.”

At the end of stage one I was amazed at the breadth and depth of my first portfolio; it was a visual and tactile reminder of how far I had come and a piece of work I was very proud of. Now I am at stage three, I no longer worry about developing my portfolio and actually enjoy working on it.

Completing a professional portfolio throughout my pre-registration training has helped me to link the theoretical aspects of my learning to clinical practice, increased my levels of self-awareness and developed my critical reflection skills.

”As I look toward the future I feel that undertaking these activities as a student has been excellent in preparing me for revalidation.”

Developing a portfolio has been an integral part of my professional development throughout pre-registration training. As I look toward the future I feel that undertaking these activities as a student has been excellent in preparing me for revalidation. At registration I will have a good understanding of how to demonstrate my continuing professional development as well as identify areas where I could improve my knowledge or skills through reflection.

When thinking about revalidation and beginning my portfolio as a registered nurse I will, as I did in stage one, begin with a SLOC and an action plan - and go from there.

Helen Croft is a student mental health nurse, University of Derby.

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