The literature on bioethics is diverse and confusing in its treatment of appropriate components for decision making. As a result, the literature on teaching bioethics is also confusing, even contradictory, in presenting an ‘appropriate’ framework within which learners may come to understand the nature and process of bioethics. The article sets out five decision components which are seen as common to all decision making. These components are then shown to have a significant influence both on bioethics decision making and on bioethics teaching. They are also shown to play a role in breaking down the separatism evidenced in contemporary bioethics literature aimed at individual professions.