Most Trusted Profession in America

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Most Trusted Profession in America

Nurses top Gallup poll again

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
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Since 1976, the research organization Gallup, Inc., has asked Americans to rate various
professions for honesty and ethical standards. This year’s poll, conducted by phone December 5–8, finds that once again, Americans place nurses at the top of the list.

Nurses on Top, Congress at the Bottom
Gallup interviewers asked people to rate “the honesty and ethical standards” of workers in various professions. The options are, in descending order, very high, high, average, low and very low. Eighty-two percent of respondents rated nurses’ ethics and honesty as high or very high, making nursing the highest-rated profession overall.

Runners-up were pharmacists and grade school teachers, who tied at 70 percent. Interestingly, nurses ranked higher than doctors, whose honesty was rated high or very high by only 69 of people surveyed. Lobbyists and members of Congress were at the bottom of the list, reflecting an ongoing distrust of government.

Winning Streak
Nurses’ high rankings on the latest survey are not a fluke. Since 2005, more than 80 percent of Americans have rated
nurses high or very high for honesty and ethical standards in Gallup polls. Since 1999, the only year nurses have not topped the list was 2001, when the role of firefighters in 9/11 rescue operations earned that profession more votes.

Such high marks are all the more remarkable considering the size and diversity of the nursing profession. There are more than 3 million nurses in America with an almost unfathomable variety of professional, educational and cultural backgrounds, working in many different settings.

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