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Nurses rank highest in honesty 11 years in a row says Gallup Poll

Nurses Top Poll for Honesty, Ethical Standards for 11th Straight Year

It’s become an annual tradition. Nurses are the most trusted profession in the U.S., topping the annual survey by Gallup for the 11th straight year for honesty and ethical standards of 22 occupational groups tested. 

Nurses have outpaced the field every year since Gallup began counting them except for one time, in 2001, after the September 11 attacks in which firefighters topped the list. The poll results can be viewed at

The survey showed 85 percent of Americans view nurses’ honesty and ethical standards as “very high” or “high,” more than 10 points above the next most trusted group, pharmacists. Near the bottom of the list were HMO managers, ranked “very high” or “high” by only 12 percent of those questioned, and members of Congress at just 10 percent.

“We consider this annual ranking an honor, and an obligation,” said Deborah Burger, RN, co-president of the nation’s largest organization of nurses, the 185,000-member National Nurses United.

“Patients and families know that when they are at their most vulnerable, it is nurses they can count on. Patients know that nurses will stand up for them, even when it against the economic interests of hospitals, insurance companies, nursing homes, or even doctors. We hold that as a sacred trust, and it is why we always put the health and well-being of our patients and our communities as our first priority, whether at the bedside or in the public arena,” said Burger

Advocacy for patients is one reason, Burger noted, why NNU currently is working to protect Medicare and Medicare from cuts in the current fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington. “With millions of Americans dependent on these vital programs, especially with the economic crisis still putting so many in harm’s way, nurses will continue to oppose these unwarranted cuts,” said Burger. 

“The best way to protect Medicare, reduce overall healthcare costs, and assure everyone is able to receive healthcare when they need it would be to update Medicare and expand it to cover everyone and realize the full promise of comprehensive reform,” Burger added.

With an economic crisis still continuing to affect working families, seniors, and children, nurses are also promoting additional revenues needed to revitalize the nation, by promoting a small sales tax on Wall Street trades of stocks and other financial instruments, as proposed in an NNU-backed bill, HR 6411, Rep. Keith Ellison’s Inclusive Prosperity Tax. Burger noted that in the Gallup Poll, stockbrokers ranked near the bottom, at just 11 percent. “It’s time to hold Wall Street accountable and insist on restitution for the damage they have done.”

Gallup Poll charts

Nurses Outperform Medical Doctors

Six medical professional categories were included in this year’s update. Nurses’ high rating this year 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 Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Nurses receive a 10-percentage-point higher rating than pharmacists, who in turn are five points above medical doctors.

The honesty ratings of all of these medical professions are at the highest levels in Gallup’s history, albeit by slim margins. Doctors’ 70 percent honesty rating this year is the same as last year’s, but up from as low as 47 percent 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.