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These are the Qualities that the Public Values Most in Nurses

For the 18th year in a row, a national Gallup poll has found that nurses are the most trusted profession. They beat all other medical professionals, in particular physicians, pharmacists, dentists and psychiatrists. The least trusted professions this year were members of congress and car salespeople.

Perhaps one reason nurses consistently top this poll by such a wide margin is the way the question in framed. Researchers ask participants how they’d rate the “honesty and ethical standards” of people in various fields. In 2019, 31 percent of respondents said “very high” and 54 percent said “high” for nurses.

Some 65 percent said “high” or “very high” for medical doctors, followed by 64 percent for pharmacists and 61 percent for dentists. Psychiatrists earned 43 percent, only two points higher than chiropractors.

RELATED: ‘We Only Trust Nurses to Fix the Healthcare Crisis,’ Says America

Ever year since 2003, when the first of these polls came out, roughly 80 percent of respondents have rated nurses’ honesty and ethics as “high” or “very high.” This metric dropped below 80 percent only once — in 2004, when it was 79 percent. Last year, it was 84 percent, preceded by 82 percent in 2017 and 84 again in 2016.

Reaching 85 percent “high” or “very high” trust for the first time in eight years is an auspicious way to ring in the 2020, “The Year of the Nurse.”

As executive director of National Nurses United, Bonnie Castillo, RN, explained in a statement: “We are honored by this poll and what it reflects — that our patients, their families and the public know that they can trust and count on nurses to stand up for them … With people and the planet under siege like never before, the public knows they can depend on nurses to use our collective power to advocate for our patients and the broader conditions that support health, justice and dignity for all people, especially the most vulnerable among us.”

RELATED: Nurses’ Intuition Serves as Valuable Predictor of Patient Decline, Says Recent Study

This particular study included a random sample 1,025 participants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Researchers collected the data via telephone interviews and had a confidence level of 95 percent.

The research comes just weeks after a similar poll found that Americans trust nurses with more than medical care. A recent survey analyzing Americans’ views on healthcare reform found that the respondents trusted nurses more than any other profession to fix the healthcare system.

Nurses were the only group to earn majority support. Only 5 percent of respondents said they trusted Congress to do so, outpacing only the 4 percent who placed trust in health insurance and pharmaceutical companies.


Nurses Continue to Rate Highest in Honesty, Ethics, Gallup.

Nurses Top Gallup Poll as Most Trusted Profession for 18th Consecutive Year, National Nurses United.

Americans’ values and beliefs about national health insurance reform, The Commonwealth Fund, The New York Times and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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