An exploration of the current use and benefit of nursing student portfolios

Timmins, F. and Dunne, P. J. (2009) An exploration of the current use and benefit of nursing student portfolios. Nurse Education Today, 29 (3). pp. 330-341. ISSN 02606917 (ISSN)


Aim: This study aims to identify the structure and of student portfolios and to ascertain their views on their usefulness. Background: Portfolios are in common use in undergraduate nursing programmes although there are considerable variations in approaches. As a result a wide variety exists in the quality of work presented and students are often unclear as to constituent contents. This latter, while a reflection of the current status and development of portfolio use within the discipline is a source of dissatisfaction for students, and warrants further investigation. Methods: This project aimed to quantitatively capture student views using an on line survey approach utilizing a previously validated questionnaire (McMullen, 2006) [McMullen, M. 2006. Students' perceptions on the use of portfolios in pre-registration nursing education: A questionnaire survey. International Journal of Nursing Studies 43 (3), 333-343]. A survey tool is used to examine the structure, process and content of portfolios (n = 481) in current use in one school. Results: The study provides an evidence base for hitherto anecdotal comments and provides useful information for future development. While students see potential value in the portfolio use there are several areas of dissatisfaction including lack of clear guidelines. Conclusion: As an evolving structure within universities and practice there is much room for process improvement. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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