Analysis of “care” and “justice” involved in moral reasoning of nurse based on the Gilligan theory: A literature review using the Gilligan’s protocol


The majority of research on the moral development of nurses is in line with Kohlberg’s theory. However, Gilligan noted that care and justice perspectives coexist in moral conflict, and during the growth process, each complements each other and promotes moral development and maturation. Chally, referring to Gilligan’s theory, which has the perspective of relationship-focused care, argued that the moral development of nurses should be considered from both care and justice perspectives. In this paper, we analyzed publications that used Gilligan protocol to conduct research on moral conflicts experienced by nurses. Given the importance of care and justice perspectives in moral reasoning, Gilligan’s theory, which incorporates both perspectives, is useful for analyzing moral reasoning in nurses. Our analysis suggests that attachment and connections based on relationships with patients and self-care are essential elements of care, and self-care is important in moral decision making. The inequality between nurse and physician roles was an issue raised with the justice perspective. Since nurses’ roles are strongly influenced by their affection toward and connections with their patients, it is important not to overemphasize either perspective.

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Tsunematsu, K. and Asai, A. (2014) Analysis of “care” and “justice” involved in moral reasoning of nurse based on the Gilligan theory: A literature review using the Gilligan’s protocol. Open Journal of Nursing, 4, 101-109. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2014.42014.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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