This One’s for Jeannie

Every year the Gallup organization asks a cross-section of Americans to rate “the perceived honesty and ethical standards” of various professions. As expected, nurses, pharmacists and medical doctors have topped the list at 85%, 75% and 70% respectively in 2012.

“Six medical professional categories were included in this year’s update,” Gallup writes. “Nurses’ high rating this is not unexpected; they have scored at the top of all professions every year since they were first included in the list in 1999 — apart from  2001, when Gallup asked about ‘firefighters’ on a one-time basis after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Nurses receive a 10-percentage-point higher rating than pharmacists, who in turn are five points above medical doctors.”

Police officers were fifth on the list with 58% high marks.

Although not unexpected, it’s interesting to note that nurses continue to dominate the top spot considering that firefighters and police generally receive more media attention. Officer Larry DePrimo’s ‘viral’ photo of helping a barefoot, homeless man in New York’s Times Square put on a pair of boots the cop bought with his own money is just one of many examples.

“The honesty ratings of all of these medical professions are at the highest levels in Gallup’s history, albeit by slim margins. Doctors’ 70% honesty rating this year is the same as last year’s, but up from as low as 47% in the mid-1990s. Nurses are now up one point from their previous high, and pharmacists are two points higher than their previous record. Pharmacists routinely topped the list before Gallup began including nurses.”

Now I know a couple of nurses. Ginger Hentschke is the head nurse at my own, local doctor’s office. She always takes the time to caution me about diet and exercise as well as answering any and all questions I might have. Then there’s Jeannie Baldwin.

First Lieutenant (ret.) Jean Mitchell-Baldwin (“the most humble person in the world,” according to her surgeon husband John) served in the Army nurse corps from scrub nurse to supervisor. During one 12-month period, Jeannie supervised 5,000 operations!

After the assassination of Robert Kennedy on June 6, 1968, Jean Mitchell’s mother drove her daughter to an Army recruiting station in Waco, Texas where she volunteered to serve in Viet Nam. In fact, all the female nurses in Viet Nam were volunteers.

Smart, funny with a modest authenticity, Jeannie truly is a joy to be around. The photo above was taken near the Dong Nai River in Viet Nam outside the Long Binh post in 1968.

Here’s to Jeannie, Ginger and all nurses who characteristically go above and beyond whatever is asked of them.

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