For the 10th straight year, nurses topped Gallup's annual Honesty and Ethics survey, which measures how trustworthy U.S. residents consider 21 different professions.
For the survey—which has been conducted since 1976—Gallup interviewed 1,012 U.S. residents ages 18 and older. According to the results, 84% of respondents rated nurses' ethical standards and honesty as "high" or "very high"—tying the highest rating that nurses have received. Respondents issued the same rating in 2001, 2006, and 2008.
Overall, nurses have topped the list in all but one year since they were first included in the poll in 1999. In 2001, firefighters ranked first after they were included on a one-time basis following the 9/11 terror attacks.
Other medical professions filled out the list's top three spots, with pharmacists receiving a 73% rating and medical doctors receiving a 70% rating. "Americans are as positive as they have ever been about those in medical professions, though the public has always held doctors, nurses, and pharmacists in high esteem," Gallup said. Meanwhile, the lowest-rated professions included car salespeople, lobbyists, and members of Congress, which each garnered a 7% rating.
According to American Nurses Association President Karen Daley, "The public's continued trust in nurses is well-placed, and reflects an appreciation for the many ways nurses provide expert care and advocacy." Daley added that "[m]ajor national policy initiatives also show trust in nurses," noting that the federal health reform law calls on nurses "to take more leadership roles and collaborate fully with other professionals in providing essential health care to a growing number of people who will have greater access to services" (Jones, Gallup News, 12/12; NurseWeek, 12/13; Blow, "Campaign Stops," New York Times, 12/12).