How to Create a Professional Nursing Poster Board Presentation

By Collene Lawhorn-Sanchez
nurse chris image by John Keith from

Nursing is a burgeoning field that encompasses research, clinical practice and education. There are many opportunities for nurses to present their work at local, national and even international venues. Poster board presentations are a common method to present material that often requires a large amount of material to be consolidated into a poster board that is only a few feet in dimensions.

Understand your audience. Nursing presentations are often made at professional society meetings or at organized conferences. Because nursing is such a broad field, it is important that you first define what kind of attendees will view your poster. For example, determine if the crowd will consist mostly of other nurses who are familiar with the material, students in training who may require lots of background information, physicians who may be determining how to develop new skills, or patients and caregivers who are seeking new information about what is available. Knowing the needs of your target audience will help you determine how to focus your poster's content.

Determine the poster size specifications. Most organized venues will have strict specifications about the size of your poster. They usually will prefer that the presenters have displays that are uniform in size, so it is important to adhere to the size guidelines. It may also be the case that there are freestanding partitions for you to tack your poster on, so having a poster that is too large can mean that your presentation is hanging off of the sides.

Ensure your poster is legible. Slide presentation software will enable you to lay out figures and text throughout the poster based on your interests. Make sure your text is large enough so that it can be easily read from at least two feet way. Headings should be in large print to signal the transition of a new idea or new material. The resolution of any images or figures you use from the nursing field should be high enough that there does not appear to be pixelation. Font colors should be in sharp contrast with the background so that they easily can be viewed.

Present your material in logical order. Your poster presentation should be laid out in the same way as if you were presenting it orally. It should flow logically with an overview, followed by an introduction section, a summary of your nursing methods, a summary of your findings, and a discussion and conclusion of the material overall and how it contributes to the nursing field. The layout for these sections on your poster board should be in such a way that the eye will naturally go from one section to the next.


Remember to reference any sources that you use. It is likely that you will not have a printer large enough to print your poster at home, so if you enlist the service of an outside vendor, be sure to give them a soft copy of your poster several days in advance of your presentation since printing times can be lengthy.

About the Author

Collene Lawhorn-Sanchez is a writer and medical researcher who has been writing professionally since 2008. She has written for various online sources, medical journals and pharmaceutical companies. She has a Bachelor of Science from Rochester Institute of Technology, a Master of Science in education from the University of Pennsylvania and a Doctor of Philosophy in neuroscience from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.