Today in the chart

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, beating out all other medical professionals.

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, particularly physicians, pharmacists, dentists, and psychiatrists. The least trusted professions this year were members of Congress and car salespeople.

Nurses consistently top this poll by such a wide margin because of how the question is framed. Researchers asked participants how they’d rate people’s “honesty and ethical standards” in various fields. In 2019, 31% of respondents said “very high,” and 54% said “high” for nurses.

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

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

Reaching 85% “high” or “very high” trust for the first time in eight years is an auspicious way to ring in 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.”

This study included a random sample of 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%.

The research comes just weeks after a similar poll found that Americans trust nurses 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% of respondents said they trusted Congress to do so, outpacing only the 4% who placed trust in health insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

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