How to manage your clinical portfolio for midwifery

Clare Sandy-128Written by Clare Sandy, current Bachelor of Midwifery student

Your portfolio – that huge document you get in 1st year and you wonder if you’ll ever complete it. If you’re not an organised person, the portfolio can be a real challenge. So here’s some tips on how to get more organised with your portfolio to make your life easier on placement.

  1. Understand your portfolio

When you first receive it, go through it carefully and make sure you understand what each sheet means, when you can and can’t complete them and if there are any additional rules for the sheets you should be aware of.

  1. Sort your portfolio into two folders

Visit your local stationary store and buy a sturdy lever arch folder, another smaller folder which zips up, a set of numbered tabs (1-30) and a set of coloured tabs (5).

Correlate each numbered tab to a section of the portfolio eg.

  1. Continuity of care sheets
  2. Interpretation of screening and diagnostic tests worksheets
  3. Full examination of the neonate worksheet
  4. Antenatal assessment worksheet
  5. Antenatal assessment summary (etc.)

Use the summary page/template you got in the packet, to write up the name of each section of sheets that corresponds to each number so you have this page at the front of your folder which allows you to quickly find the sheets you are looking for.

Write on the coloured tabs so you have one for each area in Maternity eg:

  • Orange: Antenatal
  • Green: Labour/birth
  • Blue: Newborn
  • Pink: Postnatal

Place the allocated numbered tab in front of each section of sheets – you may have to re-print some sheets if they are double sided so you keep sections together. Then sort your portfolio in sections (antenatal, labour/birth etc.) and place the coloured tab divider in between each section. File all of your portfolio sheets and divers into the lever arch folder, placing the numbered tab summary at the front.

Portfolio_numbered tab summary sheet example.jpg
Organisation of your portfolio is key – Contents page
  1. Taking your portfolio on student placement shifts

With your portfolio all set up in a lever arch folder, you’ll see how big and heavy it is. Not ideal to take into the hospital each shift. If you want, you could take out the section of sheets from the area you are working in that day (eg postnatal) and place them in a smaller folder. A folder that zips up is extra handy for keeping other items too.

  1. When you complete a sheet on placement

Take a photocopy of your completed sheet and keep a copy in your portfolio before you submit it to your Educator to sign. This way, if your sheets are misplaced, you have a copy (this happened to me!). It’s also helpful to have so you can refer to it to remember what kinds of information you put on previous sheets when you are completing new ones. When you get the original back from your Educator, you can shred the copy.

  1. When you receive your sheet back from your Educator

Once your sheet is signed off from your Educator, you may want to scan the sheet to your computer. We’ve all heard horror stories of 3rdyear students losing their portfolios! If you have a scanned copy of all signed sheets, you are safe from such a disaster – and you could upload some of them into the ePortfolio you create in 3rd year.

  1. Other things to keep in your portfolio

In your lever arch folder that you leave at home:

  • You may want to keep a summary of where you are up to with your sheets in your folder marking them off when you complete them or when you receive them back from your Educator. Not only does it make it easier to keep track of your portfolio (especially at the end of the semester when you have to let UTS know how many sheets you’ve completed), but it’s satisfying to cross off a section of sheets when you complete them!
  • Your NSW Health vaccination documentation.
Excerpt of portfolio – Summary page

In the smaller folder you take to the hospital:

  • Keep a plastic sleeve in your smaller folder marked with your name and phone number, placing your completed sheets in there to submit to your Educator for signing.
  • Several multi-coloured pens.
  • The UTS student Continuity of Care program brochures.
  • USB– save the portfolio to your USB so if you need to re-print a sheet (if you make a mistake) or need a sheet from a section of the portfolio you don’t have with you, you can easily access the file to print pages rather than logging into UTS Online to find the file.

Find out more about midwifery at UTS

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