The SCAN Career Planning Model = Self Awareness - Career Exploration - Arriving at a decision (this section) - Next Steps 

Arriving at a decision

This section contains exercises to assist you in making realistic, well-informed decisions including understanding your decision-making preference, how you have made successful decisions in the past, viewing the decision you have to make from different standpoints e.g. pros v cons, probability & importance etc., how to overcome blocks to decision making and sources of further help.


What helped you come to a speciality training decision? Dr Kiara Vincent [EM Registrar] & Dr Ellen Adams [CSRH Registrar]

Dr Kiara Vincent  & Dr. Ellen Adams talk through how they chose their speciality training after Foundation training



What type of decision maker are you?


  • Tend to use a systematic process which looks at all the options?

  • First consider what is important to you and your particular strengths?

  • Tend to weigh up the pros and cons of each option?  


  • Do you tend to make career decisions based on 'gut' feelings? Has this been a good indicator as to which choice feels like the best one? 

  • If your answer to both these questions is 'yes' then you may have a tendency to make career choices based on intuition.

Dependent/ Reliant

  • Have your career decisions been very much influenced by the feelings and ambitions of family, friends, teachers or lecturers?

  •  If your answer to this question is 'yes' it is likely that you have a preference for allowing others to influence your decision making, or that there is an external factor which is influencing this decision


  • Are you given to putting off making a career decision - perhaps waiting for people or circumstances to decide for you? 

  • Are you dependent on the views of others to effectively make this decision for you? Are you prepared to accept the results of this strategy?


  • Have you made a career decision on the spur of the moment – one which seems right at the time? 

  • This decision is possibly influenced by a news story or news that a friend or relative had recently made the same decision. 

  • Perhaps there is a bit of peer pressure influencing your spontaneous reaction.

How effective has your decision making style been so far?

A good way of reflecting on this is to create a Lifeline of your own career journey. You can read through the following example and then apply the principles to your own Lifeline.

Notes: The start date is chosen as a significant point in the person's life which relates to the decisions which follow. The end point is the current date. (This style of exercise can also be used to help you look forward).

Considering each career option in more depth using what you have learnt from SCAN stage 1 and 2?

SWOT analysis is a decision making tool to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each option, as well as the opportunities and threats.

The later is particulary useful as:

  • It highlights opportunities for future developments.

  • It helps you to anticipate the future threats/ challenges so you can plan for these. 

SWOT exercise

Comparing different options

Pros and Cons Exercise - how much weight do you give to your reasons?

Matrix Exercise - How important and how probable for each option are key factors/values to meet your fulfilment

Testing your decision

Can you interrogate your decision using the ROADS checklist below? 

  • How REALISTIC are you about the decision you are making?

  • Have you given serious consideration to ALL the OPPORTUNITIES available?

  • Have you considered all the ANCHORS that provide the support in your life?

  • Will the decision adequately DEVELOP your potential?

  • How can you consider the potential STRESSORS which may impact you as a result of this career decision?

This can help you to check how realistic and robust it is to scrutiny.This ROADS exercise provides promopts to consider on each of these points.