how to build your nursing portfolio

Building Your Travel Nursing Portfolio

How can you impress your recruiter and move to the front of the line for your next travel nurse portfolio? Here’s a hint: it’s all about building out your travel nurse portfolio.

For those with a love of healthcare, helping people, and exploring new places, a career as a travel nurse could be a perfect mix of purpose and adventure.

If you’ve successfully become a nurse and have at least 1 year of experience in your specialty, you have a chance to jump on this unique opportunity.

Travel nurse paperwork

Keeping track of paperwork is very important in the travel nursing process. After completing three contracts and filing paperwork to different agencies, building your portfolio and keeping up with paperwork can become a burden down the line. 

In travel nursing, paperwork is often overlooked, which is why being well-prepared and organized can put you one step ahead, especially when you’re on the road and need access to your paperwork at the last minute. We recommend scanning/uploading all your paperwork in PDF formats and saving it on apps such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Office 365. Once you have those documents, finding information will be a breeze. 

Checklist: Travel Nurse Paperwork


Have your cover letter and resume ready. Tailor it to the institution you’re applying to and date to the time of the interview. We recommend Resume RX for resume courses and templates. Your application process will be easier with your recruiter, as they can pull most of the important information off the resume. 

Copies of documents

  • Certificates (BLS, ACLS, PALS, CCRN, ACRN, TNCC, etc.)
  • Any other nursing certifications, like NIHSS 
  • Driver’s License (for I-9 verification)
  • Social Security Card or Passport (for I-9 verification)
  • Insurance cards (for auto, health, home, etc.) 
  • Copies of contracts, leases, and transport information
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Tax records (keep IRS happy)

Proof of immunization

  • Hep B
  • Influenza (or letter of declination)
  • MMR
  • TB skin test or Chest X-ray
  • Varicella

Visit your family practice office and obtain your past immunization records. Save that document for the future. Some facilities ask for boosters and titers, so it’s nice to have dates on hand to fill out. 


You’ll need the results of an annual physical exam conducted within the previous year to show you’re fit for work. (If this is not available, your travel nursing agency will set up an appointment for a physical paid by them.) This will also include a drug screening for every new contract you sign with a facility. 

Skills checklist

Before you apply to your first position, you’ll need to fill out a skills checklist for any specialty you work in. This will be filled out online through your agency. The caveat is that you’ll need to fill out one of these checklists for every agency you want to work for. 

Organizing your travel nurse paperwork 

Once you’ve completed the checklist above and have all your paperwork, the next step is to organize. Use a binder or an online cloud service like Google Drive.


Buy a binder with some color tabs and sheet protectors. Organize your binder based on the checklist points. If you’re color-coordinated, use colored folder dividers to make it easier to find what you need. 

Online cloud storage

This is the way we prefer to store our travel nurse paperwork. We use Google Drive. Storing your stuff in the cloud means you’ll always have digital copies of your paperwork accessible via your smartphone. Trust me, there are times when your recruiter or facility will need paperwork, like a copy of your ACLS certificate. You can easily locate the PDF and email it directly to them using your phone. Google Drive is a lifesaver! 

Closing thoughts

Just to recap, this checklist business may sound like a lot of work. Yes, it takes a lot of up-front work to get it all organized. But once this is done, it’ll save you time! And time is the world’s most limited resource. Why not buy more of it by getting your travel nurse portfolio ready? 

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