All health professionals are required to engage in professional review, registration renewal, appraisal and revalidation and there is a more general movement in most professions towards using portfolios which pull together ‘evidence’ and information from a range of sources to demonstrate continuing professional development. In most health professions, portfolios have been introduced at both undergraduate and post-qualifying levels and are one of the main ways through which individual practitioners justify their continued inclusion on professional registers by meeting defined continuing professional development (CPD) activities.
Many portfolios are electronic and designed to a structured format. At undergraduate level, portfolios are usually electronic and designed in a structured format which is clearly linked to enabling the learner to achieve the stated learning outcomes of the programme. In some undergraduate programmes portfolios (or sections extracted from them) form part of the formal assessment process.
Whether electronic or printed, a portfolio might include a development plan, appraisal records (including academic appraisals, 360º appraisals, multi-source feedback forms from patients, colleagues and others), research papers or other publications, conference papers, critical or significant event analysis, attendance certificates from training events, clinical meetings, conferences, assessment results from training courses and other evidence requirements. See for example this guidance from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy: http://www.csp.org.uk/professional-union/careers-development/cpd/keeping-portfolio
For some professions, the use of a portfolio is more limited than that described above, see the guidance from the UK Health and Care Professions Council on developing ‘Profiles’ including some sample profiles:
As you can see, the principles and approach the HCPC takes is similar to that of other professions in developing and keeping more extensive portfolios. Evidence collected is commonly linked together by a reflective log, journal, diary, reflective commentary or account of development over a specified time frame (annually, three years, five years, etc.) enabling the reader to ‘make sense’ of the portfolio in terms of the individual’s professional development and their specific context.