In a year when nurses are on the frontlines of a deadly pandemic, it can’t be a surprise that nurses have once again earned the most-trusted top spot on the annual Gallup poll of the professions with the highest honesty and ethics. This year, nurses landed firmly in the top spot with 89 percent of respondents rating nurses as high or very high on honesty and ethics. The results are higher than ever before, as in 2019, nurses earned a still-outstanding 85 percent.

If you’re a nurse, take pride in knowing the survey results showed an appreciation for the care and professionalism that nurses provide every single day. And that appreciation is based in a public trust that is overwhelming. Since the Gallup poll began in 1999, nurses have earned the top spot as a most trusted profession in all years but one (in 2001, firefighters earned the top spot with a 90 percent rating).

Rounding out the top three spots of the Gallup poll are medical doctors, who earned 77 percent, and grade-school teachers with a 75 percent ethics rating. At the other end of the list, members of Congress received an 8 percent rating (down from last year’s 12 percent), and car salespeople also received 8 percent.

With a divisive political climate permeating the country, the poll seems to unite both major political parties in the way they see specific professions. The majority of respondents in both groups rated nurses, medical doctors, and grade-school teachers in the high/very high categories. Nurses were rated high or very high by 87 percent of Republicans and 91 percent of Democrats.

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The survey results reflect a summer 2020 survey of confidence levels in various institutions that found similar rising rates of respect in medical institutions and public school systems. Public school systems enjoyed a rise in confidence levels to 41 percent (12 points higher than last year). Medical institutions received a 51 percent level of high confidence, sweeping past the previous level by 15 percentage points.

The way nurses have handled the emotional, physical, and spiritual load of the pandemic is not lost on the public. These high results are likely based, in part, by the expertise, dedication, empathy, devotion, and professionalism shown by nurses everywhere throughout the difficult last year. As nurses have reported this year, people are finally getting to see the real work of nurses and they are filled with respect for what they do on each shift.

Earning the top spot in the most-trusted survey results is another point of pride for nurses and the nursing profession nationwide.

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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