Americans continue to consider nurses the most honest and ethical profession, according to a new poll from Gallup. However, trust in nurses and other medical professionals has declined in recent years and is now below pre-pandemic levels.
The most trusted professions
For the poll, Gallup surveyed a national sample of 1,020 U.S. adults across all 50 states and the District Columbia between Nov. 9 and Dec. 2, 2022. Respondents were asked to rate the honesty and ethical standards of different professions.
Nurses were ranked as the most trusted profession in the United States, with 79% of respondents saying they had "high" or "very high" honesty and ethical standards. They have held this distinction for over 20 years now.
"Nurses are there when you're born, nurses are there when you die, and everywhere in between," said Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, president of the American Nurses Association. "Individually and collectively, we’re making a difference in people’s lives in the worst and the best times."
In addition to nurses, two other medical professions—medical doctors (62%) and pharmacists (58%)—made up the top three spots.
However, Gallup noted that respondents' ratings for all three professions have dipped since the start of the pandemic and are now below their pre-pandemic levels. For nurses, this year's rating is the lowest it has been since 2004, while the current doctors' rating is the lowest it's been since 1999, and pharmacists' the lowest in 40 years.
However, medical professionals remain more trusted than many other professions. The only other profession that was highly trusted was high school teachers at 53%. The remaining professions, which include real estate agents, bankers, and judges, largely garnered "average" ratings on their honesty and ethics. A few, such as telemarketers and members of Congress, received mostly "low" or "very low" ratings.
There were also a few partisan differences in how people viewed certain professions. Although Republicans and Democrats both ranked nurses, medical doctors, and pharmacists highly on honesty and ethics, Democrats were more likely to rate each group as "high" or "very high."
Other professions that Democrats' and Republicans' opinions diverged on include high school teachers, labor union leaders, journalists, police officers, and clergy members.