Professional Development Framework

Application Portfolio

The Application Portfolio provides a complete picture of your nursing practice. By assembling a collection of documents - each with a particular point of view - you will enable others to comprehend your level of practice. Keep in mind that no single document needs to fully describe how you meet all Framework Behaviors, but taken as a whole, the portfolio provides a detailed, comprehensive view of your professional practice.

PORTFOLIO 101: Getting Started with Advancement


All items below are required. Click on each dropdown section below for more information.
ALL REQUIRED ELEMENTS must be obtained and dated within 1 year prior to the date of portfolio submission

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An Application Portfolio Checklist is provided to guide you in navigating the framework process, helping to ensure that all necessary materials are included.

Click here: Application Portfolio Checklist

Please check each box as you add an element to your application packet. Compile your Application Portfolio in the same order as listed on the checklist.

The Checklist should be the FIRST PAGE of your Application Portfolio.

Identifying Information Form

Introduction and Instructions

Identifying information must be included in your Application Portfolio on the form that is provided below. This information will facilitate communication with you and the scheduling of your interview with your Central Committee Review Panel.

You will be contacted via e-mail to arrange the date, time and location of your interview with the Central Committee Review Panel.

Click heret: Identifying Information Form

Professional Statement

Your Professional Statement provides you with the opportunity to describe your present practice, aspirations, values, and goals. The statement conveys aspects of your practice that you especially wish to highlight, and will expand on further within other elements of your portfolio. Your Professional Statement provides insight into your professional development within your practice area and relates your future career objectives.

As you assemble your Application Portfolio, you may return to your Professional Statement to ensure that critical elements of your practice and career plan have been adequately represented within your overall portfolio.

As you create your Professional Statement, think of it as a way to introduce yourself and your practice. The rest of your portfolio provides more detail. Limit your Professional Statement to 1-2 pages.   

Professional Statement Guidelines

Describe current practice:

  • Patient population and unique nursing care needs
  • Challenges that this patient population presents
  • Motivation for choosing to work in this area or level of care

Highlight areas of particular expertise or talent, such as:

  • Motivating patients to comply with difficult treatment 
  • Teaching patients and families
  • Promoting multidisciplinary collaboration and generating appropriate referrals
  • Working with staff new to your area
  • Promoting evidence based practice in your practice environment
  • Assessing and intervening in Nursing Sensitive Quality Indicators, including Patient Education, Advance Directives, Patient ID, Restraints, Fall Prevention, Skin Integrity, and Pain Management

Convey future goals:

  • Career objectives
  • Educational goals
  • Other

Professional Statement Sample

Professional Statement

My name is Trisha MacDaniel and I have been a Registered Nurse for 20 years, half of that time here at UMHS. I have worked in several areas of nursing which lends valuable experience to my current practice.

Initially I worked as an RN supervisor in an extended care facility, followed by work on a telemetry unit at a small hospital in another state. I then worked as a Case Manager for a home care agency - a very enlightening experience that allowed me to draw on all of my past experience to provide holistic care for my patients.

I have been working on the 1A unit for the past 10 years. 1A has diverse patient populations who have, for the most part, had very life-altering surgeries, either thoracic or cardiac. Our patients require the best out of nursing, including clinical skills, patient education, and empathy, which is a constant requirement on 1A. A discharge education tool I worked on with our CNS was recently published and is now in use for all of our patients who go home following thoracic surgery. I choose to work on 1A because of the vast opportunities for professional growth and because it is an environment in which I have a voice in my career.

We have had many nurses go through our unit orientation program in recent years, and I have had the opportunity to work with many of them. I am thrilled to see new nurses grow and mature in their practice through my role as preceptor and mentor, and it is especially satisfying to see them successfully "launch" on their own following orientation. I draw on my past experience to teach new nurses exceptional, extraordinary patient care so that they achieve the best possible outcomes. I also lead our unit orientation class on frequently used cardiac medications.

I attended the Patient and Family Centered Care Conference and try to bring the principles of patient and family centered care to everyday interactions with my patients and families and the multi-disciplinary team. I am one of the leads for implementation of Patient and Family Centered Care (PFCC) on the unit. Two of the ways we have worked to implement PFCC is through hourly rounding and bedside change of shift report. I have supported both of these endeavors, but actually took lead on the transition to bedside change of shift report. This involved looking at evidence-based articles on the topic, and then working with our unit practice committee to develop guidelines for roll out and evaluation. I recently became one of the substitute charge nurses, which helps in the time I am able to give to supporting other nurses through the bedside report change process. I am now interested in engaging staff around the challenges of creating a quiet environment for healing on the unit, and have just begun this project with several other staff members.

I was a super-user for Centricity in the past and since May 2014, I have been a MiChart Super User, now working toward optimal use of this technology to promote accurate documentation and continuity of care. I want to continue with my work in relation to PFCC on the unit and as a member of the hospital committee. Through implementation of PFCC, our unit will continue to grow and improve in the care we provide, and hopefully improve our patient satisfaction scores in the process. I look forward to being a part of the 1A unit for many years to come.


A resume is a factual, chronological synopsis of professional education, employment and activities. It forms the context for other information contained in the portfolio. The resume submitted for advancement should include specified sections, as described below.

Resume Instructions

NOTE: Please utilize ALL of these major headings as you create your resume. If you do not have anything to place under one of the headings, simply leave it blank. Include applicable dates wherever possible.


Formal Education (all formal postsecondary education) List your educational background including schools attended with degree(s) completed and/or projected completion date.


Licenses and Certifications Include CURRENT license information and CURRENT professional certifications. (Do NOT include certification preparation courses or future intention to become certified in this section.)


Professional Employment History Include hospital/institution, dates of service, title, name of unit/area worked and specialty. Briefly describe the patient population(s). Describe the job responsibilities of each position including any additional roles (charge nurse, preceptor, etc.).


UMHS Committees and Activities (including unit/clinic) List your membership in UMHS committees and describe the committee along with your specific committee activities.


Professional Society/Organization Memberships Identify memberships in professional organizations, including years of membership and any roles you want to highlight.


Continuing Education Participation over the past 2-5 years List your continuing education during the last two to five years. Include the title, date attended, credits and institution provider. (You may submit an attachment.)


Presentations List all inservices, lectures and continuing education (CE approved) presentations made in the last five years. Include poster presentations at the unit, institutional, state, national or international level. List title, organization, location and date.


Publications and Unit-Based Tools List all of your publications. Include articles in journals, books, or newsletters; authorship of policy and procedures, patient education materials, and unit-based tools, etc.


Awards and Professional Honors Include unit, hospital, academic, and organizational recognition, awards, or honors.


Innovation, Research, Continuous Quality Improvement List any evidence-based innovations and research projects you have completed, and/ or any Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) projects you have been involved with at the unit/clinic or department level.

Resume Sample

Click here: Resume Sample


Self-Assessment Tool

A self assessment gives insight into a nurse’s current clinical practice and is an important aspect of determining advancement within the Professional Development Framework. It helps you and others to recognize your level of practice and highlights your strengths and abilities. Self assessment is a required element of your application portfolio.

A Self-Assessment on the Professional Development Framework Behaviors grid is a required portfolio requirement. This tool allows your self-assessed strengths and abilities to be evident “at a glance.”

Click here: Self-Assessment Tool


Self-Assessment Instructions

The Professional Development Framework Self-Assessment Form provides each applicant with a grid of all Framework behaviors that describe all five Domains of Nursing. As you look over these behaviors, think carefully about which ones best describe your practice and in the corresponding “Comments” column, note that level. Also take the time to provide examples that support the level at which you designated your practice. Avoid simply repeating the stated behavior.

Here is an example of the Self Assessment process:
With the Self Assessment Form in hand, take a close look at the “Technology” and “Patient/Family Education” behaviors within the Clinical Skills and Knowledge Domain. 

Under Technology, you see yourself as being very comfortable not only with computers, but also with the technological aspects of patient care on your unit.  You are confident and competent with all of it.  You have, however, not become a unit resource for others, nor taken a leadership role with regard to technology. Therefore, with respect to Technology, you assess yourself as practicing solidly at Level C.

With regard to Patient/Family Education, you consider yourself a growing expert. Not only do you provide comprehensive and individualized patient education as reflected in Level C behaviors, but you additionally have done in-depth work with respect to the education of an identified population, including the development of patient education materials for use by other nurses on the unit. Since patient education is one of your passions, you often seek out the most challenging situations that present themselves, and you have several scenarios in mind that would substantiate this. Therefore, with respect to Patient/Family Education, you assess yourself as practicing at Level D.

Click here: Self-Assessment Form Sample

In summary, Self Assessment demands time as well as thoughtful, ongoing consideration of your evolving nursing practice. As a requirement of Framework Advancement, it provides essential perspective toward advancement decisions. Additionally, it provides each nurse with the opportunity to reflect on their accomplishments and strengths along with a chance to consider specific areas for further professional development. Setting goals for such development is an ongoing need for all nurses, regardless of their years in practice, levels within Framework, or roles in the broader world of Professional Nursing beyond UMHS.

Clinical Nursing Director Voice

The Clinical Nursing Director Voice Tool is a required portfolio element. The Clinical Nursing Director Voice is provided using the grid of Behaviors that describe all 5 Domains of Nursing. It is an important perspective for successful advancement within the Professional Development Framework. The Clinical Nursing Director provides an assessment of the applicant’s work over time that is especially helpful in evaluating individual accomplishment.

The Clinical Nursing Director should identify behaviors within each domain that best reflect the quality, scope, depth and consistency of an individual nurse’s practice, and then place their Level Designation in the Comments column. Clinical Nursing Directors are also encouraged to add specific written comments and examples within the Domains that describe how that specific nurse’s practice exemplifies that specific behavior(s).

For example, within the Professional Development Domain “Contribution to Others”, the Clinical Nursing Director might identify the Level E behavior “Works to create and sustain and culture that is supportive and rewards and recognizes professionalism”. That Clinical Nursing Director places the Level E designation in the comments box and further adds:

“Jessica assumed leadership for our unit’s Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) endeavor that involved each staff member writing a “best self” paragraph on another staff member. The sharing of these writings provided a very meaningful team building session at our last unit retreat."

Through this short statement, the Central Committee is able to clearly understand why the Clinical Nursing Director rated the nurse as Level E in that section. Such validation enriches the Clinical Nursing Director voice and the overall portfolio.

Clinical Nursing Directors are further encouraged to provide comments and/or examples within the final summary section of the Clinical Nursing Director Voice Tool.

Applicants are encouraged to plan ahead in order to ensure that this required element is included in their portfolio at the time it is submitted.  Clinical Nursing Director have 30 calendar days in which to complete the Clinical Nursing Director Voice Tool and return it to the nurse, starting from the date that they receive the request.

Click here: Clinical Nursing Director Voice Tool

Letters of Support

Letters of Support from your professional colleagues are an important aspect of your application portfolio. These letters offer essential insights into your clinical practice and serve as endorsement of your readiness to advance. It provides examples of behaviors as observed and experienced by two different chosen colleagues who work with you in your current practice setting. Each Letter of Support focuses on one of the five domains:

  • Clinical Skills and Knowledge 
  • Therapeutic Relationships
  • Professional Relationships
  • Professional Development
  • Advancing Evidence Based Practice through Innovation & Research

Letters of Support Instructions

Purpose: To provide evidence of the applicant’s highest level of professional practice within the Framework Domains, as observed and experienced by colleagues in Nursing and other disciplines. To give voice to peers.

Required: Two Letters of Support from two different professional colleagues who work with you in your current practice setting 

  • The applicant requests that each colleague write his/her Letter of Support based on ONE specified Domain.
  • Each letter of support should address a different Domain.
  • One letter must address the Domain “Clinical Skills and Knowledge” and this letter must be written by an RN.
  • Nursing Supervisors are not considered peers for purposes of Letters of Support. (However, supervisors may complete the Manager Voice Tool in place of the Nurse Manager)
  • NOTE:  It is a requirement of the contract that any RN who gives feedback or writes a letter of support must have first taken the Peer Feedback Class.

Please be sure to provide your colleague with:


An exemplar is a story of a real patient that is told in order to illustrate an RN’s practice. The Exemplar is written in the first person and describes in detail a particular clinical situation that includes the nurse’s thoughts, feelings, intentions, actions, critical thinking, and decision-making process.

The Exemplar is an opportunity to explore the richness of an individual RN’s practice and experience. It shows how the RN uses his or her knowledge, experience, skills and personal resources in the care of an individual patient and/or family.

The Exemplar is the cornerstone of the Application Portfolio, providing a view of the depth of an RN’s practice. For this reason, exemplars must be from current patient situations that took place within the last year.

View Dr. Chris Pacini’s, Ph.D., RN's special presentation on exemplar writing.

See our checklist. Click here: Exemplar Checklist

Project Summary for Master's Degree Prepared Level F Applicants

A 500-word summary, with an additional reference page, of an evidence based project, poster or plan to improve patient care.

Click here: Project Summary for Master's Degree Prepared Level F Applicants


Miscellaneous (Optional)

The miscellaneous section of your Application Portfolio provides you with an opportunity to include items that further expand on information included within your portfolio elements. For example,

  • A copy of a poster presentation that you participated in or led
  • A patient or staff education tool that you created
  • Copies (NOT originals) of awards, certificates, or thank you notes (with names removed).

Take care not to include too much in this section. It is intended to supplement your portfolio rather than become the biggest part of it! This section is optional.


An interview is required for advancement within the Professional Development Framework and Role Specific Advancement Model. The applicant will be notified in advance of the interview date, time and location. The interview will be conducted by members of the Central Committee (see the Central Committee section on the Tools & Resources page).

Our Framework/RSAM Coach is available to assist you with preparing for the interview. Contact the coach at:

Interview Guidelines

These interviews will address three areas:


Content of your portfolio This is a time to verify, clarify, and amplify upon materials in your portfolio. Interviewers may ask you questions related to elements of your application.


Issues or challenges presented by specific populations This is an opportunity for you to step back from the information within your application portfolio and talk more broadly and conceptually about your expertise and passion for your patients, as well as your unique gifts, talents and experience that enhance your practice.


Nursing Sensitive Quality Indicators

Inpatient Settings

You will address quality indicator scores in your inpatient practice setting (non-inpatient units, see below). Talk with your Clinical Nursing Director, Supervisor, or UBC Chair about what quality indicators are regularly addressed and monitored on your unit, including the status and trends of your unit scores.

Examples of Inpatient Quality Indicators include:

Restraints, Falls, Pressure ulcers, Pain and Comfort, CLABSI, CAUTI, Hand Hygiene, and more. Quality Indicators can be found on the Nursing Quality Excellence Committee website. Check out the Quality Excellence website:

Be prepared to describe specifics of your participation and/or leadership in improving unit practice with respect to at least one indicator. You may bring documents to help you talk about this important aspect of professional nursing practice at UMHS. For example, you may serve as the Skin Liaison for your unit OR you may be part of a team who has created a plan to monitor and improve daily practice in relation to Hand Hygiene.

Non-inpatient Settings
(Ambulatory Care, OR/Procedure Areas, etc.)

You will address only those quality indicators that apply to nursing practice in your setting. Actual scores may or may not be available. Talk with your Clinical Nursing Director and/or UBC Chair about what indicators are applicable in your setting and whether scores are available for review.

If there are not any tracked data prepare for the Central Committee interview by considering indicators/key aspects of nursing practice in your setting. Think about safety/quality issues that your unit may be working on.

Examples of Non-Inpatient quality indicators include:

  • Pain management may be a significant indicator/aspect of nursing care in certain procedure/ recovery settings
  • Telephone triage call-back times may be important in certain ambulatory settings
  • Nurses in procedure areas may regularly work with prevention of over-sedation.
  • Patient satisfaction and Hand Hygiene are of importance in all non-inpatient settings
  • Patient education may be a quality indicator in a variety of non-inpatient settings
Be prepared to describe specifics of your participation and/or leadership in improving practice in your non-inpatient setting with respect to at least one indicator. This may include your 1:1 care of patients or your participation in unit endeavors.

Internal link; accessible via UMHS Network or VPN only:

Nursing Quality Excellence Committee website



Contact Us

We invite your thoughts, feedback, questions and comments related to the Professional Development Framework and Role Specific Advancement Model! 

Please contact Mary Anne Brancheau, BSN, RN-BC at
(734) 232-1091 or email

Our Framework/RSAM Office Location
University of Michigan Health System
Professional Development and Education
300 N. Ingalls St.
6th Floor B Wing, Rm. 6B04
Ann Arbor, MI. 48109-5436

Thank you!















Target Audience: UMHS Nursing | Author/Contact: Mary Anne Brancheau

Web Publisher/Designer/Developer: April Stingo | Reviewed: 02/22/2018