Weighing Veracity and Nonmaleficence
You are a second-year nursing student. During the first year of the nursing program, you formed a close friendship with Susan, another nursing student, and the two of you spend many of your free evenings and weekends together doing fun things. The only thing that drives you a bit crazy about your friend is that she is incredibly messy.
When you go to her home, you usually see dirty dishes piled in the sink, dog hair over all the furniture, clothing strewn all over the apartment, and uneaten pizza or other half spoiled food sitting on the floor. You attempt to limit your time at her apartment because it is so bothersome to you, so it has not been a factor in your friendship.
Today, when Susan and you are sitting at the dining table in your apartment, your current roommate tells you that she is unexpectedly vacating her lease at the end of the month.
Susan becomes excited and shares that her lease will end at the end of this month as well and suggests how much fun it would be if the two of you could move in together. She immediately begins talking about when she could move in, where she would locate her furniture in the apartment, and where her dog might stay when the two of you are in clinical.
Although you value Susan’s friendship and really enjoy the time you spend together, the idea of living with someone as untidy as Susan is not something you want to do. Unfortunately, your current lease does not preclude pets or subleases.
Decide how you will respond to Susan. Will you tell her the truth? Are your values regarding veracity stronger or weaker than your desire to cause no harm to Susan’s feelings (nonmaleficence)?