Nursing Portfolio: Keep Nursing CE/CEU, Memberships & Licensure Organized!

Nursing school is the ultimate test of organization. Organizing study notes, clinical hours, clinical notes, nursing diagnosis, medication side effects, disease processes…the lists are really endless.  You’d think that once you graduate you would catch a break on having to keep track of so much.  Not a chance.  Aside from developing a fantastic resume to secure your dream job – you need to continue to track your CE/CEUs, memberships and all levels of licensure.  Time to create your Nursing Portfolio. 

Nursing Portfolio

Let’s get started.  Your Nursing Portfolio should have anything and everything that highlights your nursing career.  All you need is a binder – I am certain you have one around from all your classes.  Dust one off & you’re half way there.  Then there is the coversheet.  I kept mine pretty simple but feel free to dress it up.  This is your portfolio, be certain to take the time and make that cover look good – you never know who might see it.  The next step is the division inside.

Keeping it simple I used general page dividers that you can get from any office supply store. You might even have some left over from nursing school (I tend to save everything so I always have a stockpile on hand!).    The most important addition to the portfolio should be your resume.  This is the first item once you open the binder.

Then I divided the binder into six sections: License, Presentation, Organizations, CE/CEUs, Preceptor, Miscellaneous

ORGANIZATIONS

This is where I keep track of professional memberships.  Nursing is the most respected profession for many years now, and do believe in strength in numbers.  Currently my memberships include the American Nurses Association (ANA) which includes national and state memberships.  I also belong to the Illinois Society for Advance Practice Nursing (ISAPN) and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).  Usually I print the membership invoice to show when my membership will lapse (so I can renew easily!) but also easy access to membership numbers.

CE/CEU

This is probably the most important aspect of your portfolio. CE/CEUs are earned throughout your career via a variety of sources. You can earn credits at conferences, online, webinars, lunch & learns, employer educational activities – the opportunities are endless.  When it comes for license renewal (for RNs – 2 years and 20 CEUs for the state of Illinois) or certifications (every 5 years for most Nurse Practitioners) it helps to have your CE/CEUs organized.  Usually I add the conference certificate CE print-outs right to the binder and print out yearly updates from UpToDate and Medscape which both keep track of my hours.

PRECEPTOR

Yes, one day you will be the preceptor.  It doesn’t feel like that now, but soon enough you will be one showing a nursing student everything he or she needs to know to make it through the shift.  When you precept a student for an entire semester or rotation, the school representing the student usually present a certificate of completion that may convert to CE hours.  My latest NP student rotation, the hours precepted resulted in total CEs of 25 hours.  Not too shabby.  Even without CE credits these preceptor certificates can help with yearly reviews, job interviews or applications to grad school.

LICENSE

This is what we worked so hard for!  This section I do step it up a notch and all my licensure forms are in their own page protectors.  I just didn’t have the heart to punch holes in any of them.  While you might only have your state Registered Nurse license it is still important to have on hand.  Any additional certifications, for example from ANCC Med-Surg, Cardiac-Vascular, Gerontological, Pediatric, etc. are important additions to this section.  If you continue on and earn your Nurse Practitioner certification you will also have that state license, plus your DEA number, State Advanced Practice Controlled Substance license and NPI number. It is a lot to keep track of and handy to have it all in one location.  In this section I also add copies of my diplomas & certifications. 

PRESENTATIONS

Same rules apply here – you might not think that you’ll ever be in a position to actually speak or present a poster at a conference, but it could happen.  This past year I had a poster presentation at the National Nurse Practitioner Symposium and a podium presentation at the ANCC National Magnet Conference.  In the portfolio I kept a copy of the abstract submission which includes the conference, title and content summary.  I was also able to add a copy of the poster (in very tiny print!) and do have a slide summary of the podium presentation for reference.  Hopeful one day to add published content to this section!

MISCELLANEOUS

Here I have a compilation of various awards, certification of recognition and appreciation – most are from my employer but a few are from other agencies.  Always good to keep around.

Your best bet is to start your nursing portfolio IN nursing school.  However, I can assure you it is never too late to pull this together and have everything listed here in one place.  While my nursing career started in 2006, this binder didn’t become a reality until about 2010 when a mentor introduced me to the concept.  It still sat untouched for a few more years until my own master’s degree became a reality & couldn’t imaging managing my nursing career without it!

16 thoughts on “Nursing Portfolio: Keep Nursing CE/CEU, Memberships & Licensure Organized!

  • June 29, 2020 at 14:29
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    I know a few students in nursing school –very helpful info. It is such a great career that often offers some flexibility for moms that don’t always want to work traditional hours.

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  • June 29, 2020 at 15:40
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    Thanks for this. I’ll bookmark this for my daughter. She’s hoping to start nursing school eventually, and she would appreciate this well organized way of putting together a portfolio.

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    • June 29, 2020 at 20:56
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      Never too early to start – it’s a great habit and will always have everything handy!

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  • June 29, 2020 at 16:58
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    Having a portfolio is so important in many occupations.

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  • June 29, 2020 at 18:49
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    Great information for people entering the industry and starting a career in medicine!

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  • June 29, 2020 at 18:54
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    This is a great way to keep CEU’s organized. Thank you for sharing this!

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  • June 30, 2020 at 03:59
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    Great idea. I love having everything organized. It saves so much time in the long run!

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  • June 30, 2020 at 11:00
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    Keeping record right from the beginning is so important no matter the occupation, and you have some wonderful recommendations!

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  • June 30, 2020 at 16:12
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    My sister and sister in law are in Nurse practitioner school, I have heard this term used by them but before that I was clueless!

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  • July 1, 2020 at 21:45
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    This is a great way to keep organized. Thanks for sharing.

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  • July 2, 2020 at 09:45
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    My sister is in nursing school. I’ll be sure to pass this along to her for future use!

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  • July 2, 2020 at 14:01
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    I did something similar for my master’s in mental health. This is a great idea.

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  • July 6, 2020 at 10:53
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    It’s great to be so organized! My daughter is a nurse. I’ll have to ask her if she has a portfolio.

    Reply

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