Whatever surgical career route you decide to pursue, it is crucial to maintain a portfolio throughout.
Watch our webinar recording below to get advice on building your portfolio from RCS Council member Fiona Myint and two trainees.
Is a portfolio similar to a CV?
A CV provides a short summary of your qualifications, professional history and personal details, which you should tailor for each role you apply for. In contrast, a surgical portfolio goes into much more detail, showcasing evidence of your competency achievements, knowledge and personal and professional skills.
How important is the portfolio?
You are likely to be asked to show your portfolio at the selection centre or interview when applying for posts in the training pathway. If you decide to undertake career grade posts, you will also find your portfolio invaluable when going through appraisals to progress through the specialty doctor grade. Furthermore, if you later decide to apply for a CESR, your portfolio will be a central part of your application.
While you may not be required to show your portfolio to anyone before you attend interview or selection centre, it will be useful to have compiled your portfolio before this point so that you are familiar with it and can use it to help write your applications.
Compiling your portfolio
All trainees are expected to engage with the ISCP electronic portfolio in order to have a successful outcome at their Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP).
To compile your portfolio, you should organise relevant career information in a ring binder with a contents page and index tabs to make it easier for the selection centre assessor to navigate.
You may have to refer to specific evidence so your portfolio should be logically and clearly laid out. The portfolio and the evidence it contains will support your application, any subsequent interviews and your ongoing earning when you have begun your post.
A summary table listing all of the competencies required (i.e those listed on the ISCP website), how you have achieved them and where in your portfolio evidence can be found would be beneficial.
Your portfolio should show your commitment to surgery. In addition to including evidence of the activities you have undertaken, you should ensure your logbook - either paper-based or electronic - is up-to-date. You should include reflective examples from your work as well as documentary evidence of any extra activities.
Types of evidence included in your portfolio might include:
- logbook of clinical activity
- trainers’ reports
- written workplace assessments
- list of competencies signed by supervising consultant
- assessments such as DOPS and mini-CEX (see ISCP website)
Example portfolios are available from websites such as the foundation portfolio on the MMC website. These will give you structures to use for recording but you should remember it is your personal input that is important.
In your portfolio, it will be useful to produce a summary table listing all of the competencies required (i.e those listed on the ISCP website) how you have achieved them and where in your portfolio evidence can be found.