It is traditionally assumed that licensure of healthcare professionals means that they are minimally competent. Many nursing specialty organizations offer examinations and other processes for certification, suggesting that certification is associated with continued competency. Can standardized examination for certification and continuing education for recertification ensure continued competency? Continuing education and testing provide a limited picture of an individual's knowledge and/or skill acquisition in a limited area at one point in time. However, portfolios promote critical thinking, self-assessment, and individual accountability. A portfolio is a portable mechanism for evaluating competencies that may otherwise be difficult to assess. This article summarizes some of the literature addressing portfolios, including aspects of portfolio development process, the value of portfolios versus continuing education for competency assessment, evidence associated with portfolio usage, and suggestions for organizing nursing portfolios.
Michelle Byrne, RN, PhD, CNOR, is Associate Professor of Nursing at North Georgia College and State University, Dahlonega, Ga; Teresa Delarose, RN, MN, EdD, CNOR, is Clinical Assistant Professor at University of Washington, Seattle, Wash; Cecil A. King, RN, MS, CNOR, APN, Perioperative Services, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Baltimore, Md; Jane Leske, PhD, APRN-BC, is Associate Professor, College of Nursing, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wis; Kathryn G. Sapnas, RN, PhD, CNOR, CCRN, is Chief of Nursing Education and Research, Miami VA Healthcare System, Miami, Fla; Kathryn Schroeter, RN, PhD, is CNOR, Surgical Services Education Coordinator, Froedtert Hospital, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Bioethics, Medical College of Wisconsin, and Faculty Member, Marquette University College of Nursing, Milwaukee, Wis.
Corresponding author: Michelle Byrne, RN, PhD, CNOR, 5198 Lupine Lane, Acworth, GA 30102 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).