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Learning Center Experience
By Tracy M. Towne, PhD, RN & Elaina Mahlan, MSN/Ed., RN, CNE, FCN
In spite of the current and increasing nursing
shortage in the U.S. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014), competition is high
and pursuing your desired professional nursing position can be a challenge.
also extends beyond the workplace to graduate school where applicants often
face the challenge of limited enrollment. So the question is, “How can an RN gain
a competitive edge?”
In a survey of business and non-profit leaders, the
Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) explored what the
perceived learning experiences and practices are for students entering the
workforce after completing their education (2013). The AACU develops the
analysis and report to assist colleges and universities in planning the best
curricula and educational practices that will lead to student success in the
workforce after graduation.
One aspect viewed as important by 95% of employers
was the future employee’s ability to contribute to the innovation of the
workplace (AACU, 2013). In fact, 92% of those surveyed considered innovation as
absolutely essential to each of their individual organizations (AACU, 2013). Innovation
in health care is a high priority of many academics and business professionals.
Each year the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Medical School hold a
joint forum with academics, policymakers, and executives for the sole purpose
of exploring innovative actions in health care (Harvard Business School, n.d.).
In today’s work environment, RNs use these
characteristics to face the daily complexities and challenges of health care. But
how can RNs demonstrate these skills and abilities to potential employers? One
way to showcase individual talents and skills is through an e-Portfolio (electronic
Created by the professional or learner, an e-Portfolio
is an accumulation of a person’s achievements and experiences (JISC, 2008). This online repository of completed
work and accomplishments can be shared with potential employers or other
professionals. AACU’s survey (2013) noted that four out of five employers
indicated an e-Portfolio would be beneficial and allow the employer to more
readily assess the individual’s abilities and knowledge. An e-Portfolio is more
than a resume or college transcript—it provides a complete picture of an
individual’s work and experiences.
At Kaplan University, the e-Portfolio is a capstone requirement
in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. Students who are creating
an e-Portfolio submit required items demonstrating achievement of program
objectives along with:
The e-Portfolio not only demonstrates successful
completion of the BSN program, but is developed for the student to use in the
future when pursuing new employment or continuing their education. Students
have access to their e-Portfolio after graduation and are encouraged to keep
building the e-Portfolio as they gain new skills, abilities, and experiences. The
implementation of the e-Portfolio allows students to showcase their strengths,
and could be a benefit when competing for professional positions.
Even with a current nursing shortage, the workplace
continues to be competitive and there are often many applicants for the most
coveted nursing jobs. Employers seek innovative workers with a specific skill
set, and in today’s fast-paced work environment it is important to get the
attention of the future employer.
An e-Portfolio can be an excellent way to showcase
all that you have to offer and shows a future employer the full breadth of your
valuable experiences. Kaplan University has made the development of the e-Portfolio
a priority for our graduates, and we also encourage professional RNs to
consider the development of an e-Portfolio during their career journey.
How a Career In Nursing Can Grow and Adapt to Fit Your Changing Life
Nursing Careers: New Tech Trends in Nursing
Did you find this article interesting? If so, share it!
And if you are considering pursuing a nursing degree, we invite you to find out more about Kaplan University's School of Nursing and explore our undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.
Association of American Colleges and Universities.
(2013). It takes more than a major:
Employer priorities for college learning and student success: Overview of key findings.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014). Registered nurses. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Registered-nurses.htm#tab-6
Harvard School of Business. (n.d.). Forum on Healthcare Innovation. Retrieved
Joint Information Systems Committee.
(2008). Effective practice with e-Portfolios.
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