Year after year, nurses are the most trusted profession in the U.S., and according to new research, this honor extends beyond their one-on-one patient care.
In fact, the average American trusts nurses more so than other group to improve the current healthcare system. This was a major finding of a recent survey analyzing Americans’ views on healthcare reform funded by The Commonwealth Fund, The New York Times and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Some 58 percent of more than 2,000 participants said they place “a great deal” of public trust in nurses — the only group to earn majority support — followed by:
- 30 percent for physicians
- 18 percent for hospitals
- 14 percent for labor unions
- 6 percent for both state and federal government
- 5 percent for Congress and business leaders
- 4 percent for health insurance and pharmaceutical companies
Trust in nurses also varied based on health-reform preference. Participants disclosed whether they prefer Medicare-for-all, improving upon Obamacare or the Republican plan to pass new legislation giving power back to the states. Some 65 percent of participants who favored improving the ACA said they trusted nurses “a great deal,” compared to 59 percent of those who want to replace the ACA with state plans and 54 percent who support Medicare-for-all.
“When it comes to public trust in various groups trying to improve the U.S. health care system, Americans favoring all three plans generally do not trust any interest major groups, with the exception of nurses,” the authors noted. “This suggests that if outside groups are to play an important role in shaping the future of health reform, they will need to coalesce around a shared vision of what it should look like.”
Other interesting findings from the research include:
- Medicare-for-all was the most popular option with 32 percent of the vote, followed by 29 percent for state plans and 28 percent for improving the ACA.
- Views of the U.S. healthcare system somewhat predicted voters’ reform preferences; 55 percent of Republican-plan supporters believe the U.S. healthcare system is the best in the world, compared to only 21 percent of Medicare-for-all supporters.
- More than half of participants, 58 percent, favored approaches put forward by Democrats.
In addition to providing some inspiration to struggling nurses, this survey also foreshadows what role health insurance reform will play in the upcoming election. That is to say, healthcare influences how many Americans vote, and percentage rankings for the plans were relatively close, so it could be a tight race.
There was one thing participants could agree on, though.
“Regardless of their preferences for health insurance reform, a majority of the public believes all Americans have a right to health care regardless of their ability to pay,” the authors wrote. “However, the public is split on whether it is the federal government’s role to solve these problems.”