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Nicola Davies reports on a formula that can help to take long-term and short-term career development aspirations forward in a systematic and achievable way



It can be easy to let our lives fall into routine and to put our major goals aside. But there are tools to keep us on track. Whitmore’s GROW model for example, can map a path to our attainable goals. GROW stands for: Goal – Where would you like to be? Reality – What is your position now? Options – What steps can you take towards your goals? Will (or Way Forward) – Committing yourself to taking those steps. For example, healthcare assistant Brenda has decided that her Goal is to work with children as a paediatric nurse practitioner (NP). Brenda believes that she can accomplish her goal by her 30th birthday. Brenda’s Reality is her position as a healthcare assistant. She has

The GROW model for Brenda’s long-term and short-term goals Long term

Short term


To be a nurse practitioner (NP) To be an assistant practitioner (AP) specialising in paediatrics by within a year. 30 years old.


Has been a healthcare assistant HCA with current employer for two (HCA) for two years and is on years and on track educationally. track educationally.

Options (or Education and career Obstacles) advancement with possible support from employer.


Maintaining work ethic and communication with supervisors to keep them informed of her goals, as well as gaining a certificate of higher education in healthcare practice.

Brenda will continue her education and revisit her short-term goal of becoming an assistant practitioner (AP) and will also see if she can obtain a secondment to begin her degree in nursing.

Brenda will seek employer’s help in beginning her studies and demonstrate that she will make an excellent AP before then going on to ask for promotion.

a QCF level three qualification and has worked with her current employer for two years. Brenda’s Options could begin with the shorter goal of improving her education to become an assistant practitioner (AP) and gain a certificate in higher education in healthcare practice. She could also request a secondment from her employer. Brenda’s Will involves her time and money for her education and a time frame to accomplish her goal. The GROW model can also be used to meet smaller performance goals along the way to the final goal. In the current example (see box), Brenda has identified several steps on her journey. She has set her first intermediate goal of being promoted to an AP at one year. The Reality of her situation has not changed but she has received favourable reports on her work ethic and her supervisor thinks highly of her. This increases her intermediate Options. She can speak with her supervisor about her goals and her education goals, in particular showing her clear dedication to continuing in this field. Her Will is to commit the next year towards this goal by requesting and, hopefully, receiving her promotion to AP NS Nicola Davies is a health psychologist and writer RESOURCES The GROW model Modelgrow RCN Careers Service services/careersadvice

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