Nurses Do It Better

Published: November 27, 2008

By Jim Lichtman
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The Gallup organization’s annual Honesty and Ethics poll gave nurses the highest ranking out of twenty-one professions for the seventh straight year!

“Eighty-four percent of Americans,” Gallup reported, “call their honesty and ethical standards either ‘high’ or ‘very high.’…”

This speaks directly to the issue of trust.  Clearly patients, doctors, administrators and others believe that nurses have the highest level of trust compared to other professions.

“Nurses have topped Gallup’s Honesty and Ethics ranking every year but one since they were added to the list in 1999. The exception is 2001, when firefighters were included on the list on a one-time basis, shortly after the Sep. 11 terrorist attacks….

“The standing of most of the professions surveyed in 2008 is similar to that of a year ago. The only significant change is a 12 percentage-point decline in positive ratings for bankers, from 35% to 23% — not surprising given that the banking industry is at the center of the Wall Street meltdown currently gutting many Americans’ investment accounts and destabilizing the U.S. economy. (Earlier this year, Gallup reported a similar decline in public confidence in banking as an institution.)

“The 2008 Gallup Honesty and Ethics poll marks the first time since 1996 that the honesty and ethics of bankers has registered below 30%. The last time bankers took a hit of similar magnitude to their image was in 1988, when it fell from 38% to 26% during the savings and loan crisis. However, the 23% recorded today marks a record low for the field.

“Building contractors, bankers, journalists, and real estate agents each receive relatively neutral ratings…

“Nurses have no peer in the Gallup rankings today, but they are followed by pharmacists, high-school teachers, and medical doctors, all with close to two-thirds of Americans rating them highly…”

At a time when scandals in financial markets, Washington, DC, and corporations top the news, it is comforting to know that nurses – in the minds of most Americans – rank highest in terms of ethics.

This Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks to a nurse and anyone else whose trust level rates high on your list!

We should never take them for granted.


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