Are Nurses the Most Trusted Professionals?
It takes a special kind of human to become a nurse.
Nurses demonstrate compassion, intelligence, and empathy. They care for individuals facing health crises or defining life events. And they support the caregivers and family members affected by these situations, too.
Nurses are recognized for their ability to care for others. But did you know that most Americans also rank nurses as the most trusted professionals? That’s right. We’re the ones you can tell all your secrets to.
According to a national poll conducted by a well-known research agency, nurses are consistently rated as the most trusted professionals each year. In fact, nursing has now broken the record with a nineteen-consecutive-years streak of being rated as the most trusted profession.
Here’s why we think nurses are so trusted, and who else we beat out on the list.
Who Thinks Nurses Are the Most Trusted Professionals?
The Gallup poll surveys Americans each year to gather data about cultural beliefs and biases. Last year was no different. U.S. adults were asked to rate 15 different occupational categories on their perceived ethical standards, using a scale from “very low” to “very high.”
Nurses were rated at for high or very high in honesty and ethics among 89% of survey respondents. This score is the highest of any occupation.
The poll began in 1976. And since 1990, the survey has been recorded annually. Here are the 2020 results from the Gallup’s Honesty and Ethics survey.
The top five most trusted professionals, according to the survey, were nurses, medical doctors, grade-school teachers, pharmacists, and police officers. Interestingly, the public rated clergy, journalists, and lawyers lower.
Nursing’s high ranking in public trust, for honesty and ethics, is also found in other countries. The European company, Ipsos Mori, conducted a similar poll in 2020 with almost the same results. The group polled the British public with a simple yes/no question:
“do you trust them to tell the truth?”
Their results, called the Veracity Index, rate nurses as the most trusted professionals. Ninety percent of people surveyed affirmed that they would trust a nurse to tell them the truth.
Why Are Nurses the Most Trusted Profession?
There are a couple of reasons why nurses may be viewed as the most trustworthy professionals. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines trust as “reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.”
Nurses demonstrate these traits on the job every day.
One important role of the nurse is advocacy. Nurses show the community that they can rely on them when they serve as patient advocates. Nurses are trusted to care for their clients, and often times speak up for the patient. They may help with interdisciplinary communication, make recommendations, or provide care coordination. According to a recent article in Forbes, titled “What We Can All Learn From Nurses,” nurses are trusted more than doctors because nurses are seen as standing alongside their patients and advocating for them. Patients put their lives in the hands of nurses who stay with them 24/7 and commit to caring for them.
Another integral part of the nursing profession is patient education. Often, the public counts on professional nurses to give them the information they need. Nurses educate clients about medical situations. They use words and concepts that are easy for patients and families to understand. The skills that nurses learn in nursing school and carry into their practice after graduation, are an integral part of what sets nurses apart as trusted care providers.
The role of the professional nurse is also to promote health and wellness. Nurses do this each day. Nursing professionals performing interventions to fight disease and heal sickness. By these actions, they gain the trust of patients, friends and families, and the community.
The Next Decade for Nursing
Now that 2020-2021 has been dedicated to the profession as, the “Year of the Nurse,” what’s next? The American Nurses Association (ANA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the year to honor and celebrate professional nurses of the world. And it is likely that the public’s unwavering faith in the nursing profession will remain strong.
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 brought challenges worldwide. And nurses were among the proud frontline warriors to fight back against its effects. As we move into a post-COVID-vaccine era, nurses will continue to promote health, provide education, and advocate for the communities in which they serve.
So we think it’s pretty likely that nurses will remain at the top of the list. For the next decade, professional nurses will continue to show their character, ability, strength in the years to come. The public can continue to look to professional nurses for honest and ethical care. You can trust us.