In praise of e-portfolio

My name is Carmen, and I like e-portfolio….

There. I’ve said it. Confession made.

I’ve confessed to a few things in my time (I’m a pole dancer in my spare time, and I really never have seen all of Star Wars), but this is likely to be the most controversial.

But I do. I think e-portfolio is amazing. Genuinely.

And I know I’m not supposed to think that.  If there’s a social taboo amongst junior (senior?) doctors, it’s admitting that there are any benefits to the current assessment systems.

If there’s one thing that units orthopods, anaesthetists, and microbiologists, it’s a shared loathing for the e-portfolio.

But I quite like it.  I didn’t use to.  I used to agree with the prevailing thought that it was an instrument of torture devised by ARCP assessors to stop us enjoying the summer.

And I no longer think like that.

 

Here are my reasons for liking e-portfolio

Storage

It’s my career development in one neatly organised place.  I normally keep records of conferences I’ve attended and meetings I’ve gone to in a box that I keep meaning to sort out.  Every so often, the pile of papers escape into a second box which is often non-existent, and then start taking over my bed.  I keep meaning to sort it out, but I rarely do.  The last time I opened the box, there were papers in there from 2010. I dread to think what’s on the bottom, but I think it may come to life if it reaches sunlight.

Organised storage

Trying to write a summary of things I’d achieved over the past year (academic ARCP reviews – lovely things) used to be a total nightmare, and would normally involve wrestling THE BOX into submission and trying to find a diary of some sort.  Now, it’s all in one place.  Finding my research development evidence for my upgrade meeting took 10 minutes because it was all in e-portfolio

It’s a way of showing the work that I actually do

I hadn’t realised this until recently, but some people go home after work and switch off.  I spend Sunday mornings dragging my friends out of bed so we can talk about a website whilst consuming far too much caffeine; I run away from barbecues so that I can spend the evenings doing journal clubs and trying to get Tweetdeck to work at a reasonable speed.  E-portfolio is a way of recording all of that, and it genuinely takes a minute of my time.  If I’ve spent an hour at journal club, why not spend 60 seconds inputting that?

It helps me learn

I don’t have an encyclopaedic memory.  I’m a paediatrics trainee for goodness sake, not an anaesthetist.  I don’t remember exactly what the Centor criteria are; or when to scan in UTI.  I don’t really want to trawl through Google every time I have a minor clinical point that I’m sure I’ve considered before.  What I need is one place that stores the answers; a universal notebook (even if it isn’t very pretty)

It stops me exploding

I like the reflective entries.  I think they’re difficult to write, and sometimes they can be very traumatic.  But looking back at some of the entries, I can remember how I’ve dealt with situations in the past.  More than that, sometimes I need to remember that I have survived, and that I can manage.  It can be cathartic writing about difficult things, and I find it helps me.

It’s MY record

It’s a space for me to share my concerns and worries about my training.  Yes, I discuss them with my educational supervisors; my TPDs are aware of my concerns, but that doesn’t mean that they are recorded anywhere or that anything is being done about them.  Part of me feels that I’m clawing back a tiny bit of control by creating a record of my training that isn’t controlled by an official view (or at least, not too much)

 

Ultimately, my e-portfolio is just that: mine.  I don’t use it to comply with the ARCP requirements or my educational supervisor’s demands (to be fair, I’m not convinced my ed sup can access it).  I use it for me, and as my training record.

And yes I will stand up and say, my name is Carmen, and I like e-portfolio.

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