Greipp's model of ethical decision making


  • Mary Elizabeth Greipp RN EdD FAAN

    1. Associate Professor, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden College of Arts and Sciences, Camden, New Jersey, USA
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Nurses need to become more aware of everyday ethical decisions and the many factors which influence them in order to develop skills in this cognitive process This author's model of ethical decision making has been designed and developed to illustrate an overall conception of the interaction between nurse and client within an ethical framework. This model lends itself to the examination of all factors which enter into the ethical decision making process descriptive, normative and meta-ethics


Greipp's model of ethical decision making clarifies the ethical process by defining ethical behaviour within the centre of the model, and delineating relevant variables on both the caregiver's and care recipient's sides which can dramatically alter the outcome of the decision making process The value of this model for the practitioner lies in its diagrammatic structure which will keep the nurse focused and aware of the influence that psychosociocultural variables have on decision making interactions

The model also makes evident the power of those potential inhibitors (variables) to violate basic ethical principles and negate the framework Locating the violation is essential in finding a solution “Men are not evil Most of the evil gets done without malice Evil comes less from malice and sadism than from good intentions that are stupid and low-level” (Maslow 1972)

Each professional nurse carries responsibility for right behaviour and right knowledge The search and quest for that behaviour and knowledge is a never-ending process fired by a commitment to personal ideals and professional excellence