Nurses Take Top Spot for Honesty and Ethics in Gallup Poll

By | 2021-01-21T10:07:52-05:00 January 20th, 2020|10 Comments

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to recognize and celebrate the 2020 Gallup poll results, which found nurses at the top of the list, once again, for honesty and ethics.

The results of the 2020 Gallup poll on which professionals are rated for their honesty and ethics are in, and nurses are once again at the top of the list. Nurses have earned this honor 19 years in a row.

honesty and ethics

Alisha Cornell, DNP, RN

In the poll, 89% of Americans who participated in the survey rated the honesty and ethics of nurses as very high or high — four percentage points higher than in the 2019 poll and seven percentage points higher than 2018. The latest results are based on a December 1-17 Gallup poll in which Americans were asked to rate the honesty and ethics of 15 different occupational groups.

“Building a professional rapport of honesty and ethics requires takes an immense effort, and it is a privilege to be trusted in this world,” said Alisha Cornell, DNP, RN, Clinical Implementation Consultant for Relias. “I am honored to know that I am a part of a profession that has been identified as a source of truth as providers of care. This is a monumental badge of honor and a historical precedent for healthcare.”

2020 Tested Their Mettle

At a time when recognition is especially meaningful, this honor serves as a reminder that nurses’ hard work and heroism during 2020 has not been overlooked. A year of unpredictable challenges began with the COVID-19 pandemic quickly spreading and threatening communities around the globe. This grim reality was soon compounded by a shortage of personal protective equipment, a lack of respirators and other hospital tools, and the physical danger to which nurses were exposed. Not to mention the fear of exposing their families and the isolation that came distancing themselves from loved ones in order to decrease their exposure to COVID-19.

But the world took notice of their efforts and dedication.

“Healthcare professionals received a lot of media attention in 2020 particularly in regard to the pandemic,” said Maria Morales, MSN, RN, Curriculum Designer for Clinical Education for Nursing, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Allied Health for Relias. “True stories of how nurses specifically were helping others to try to prevent or manage COVID-19 were frequent on talk shows and news programs. Many medical dramas and other entertainment shows portrayed the way nurses worked to place patients and clients first and help them in their times of need.”

Bi-partisan Agreement

Physicians’ and pharmacists’ honesty and ethics ratings also improved in the 2020 poll, with physicians rising 12 points to 77%, compared to the preceding year, and pharmacists improving by seven points to 71%.

Nursing home operators landed in eighth place in the Gallup poll, with a new high of 36% — 10 points above their previous rating in 2017 and four points ahead of their prior high of 32% recorded in 2013.

Interestingly, Republicans and Democrats agreed on the top ratings for nurses, physicians, grade-school teachers, and pharmacists.

On the other end of the spectrum, the 2020 Gallup poll found members of Congress and car salespeople tying for last, with just 8% rating them highly.

Gallup has measured the public’s views of the honesty and ethical standards since 1976, and over the years nurses have maintained the public’s trust. With the exception of one year — in 2001 when firefighters topped the list after 9/11 — nursing has far outpaced all other professions since it was added as a category two decades ago, according to the poll. Before 1999, pharmacists and clergy members were the most highly rated professions for their ethics.

“The findings of the Gallup Poll are not surprising. Nurses have consistently ranked highly in honesty and ethics,” said Nadine Salmon, MSN, RN-BC, IBCLC, SME Writer for Clinical Nursing for Relias. “As a profession, we strive to advocate for our patients, and we are usually seen as trustworthy, patient-focused supporters without financial motivators. I’m proud to call myself a nurse and congratulate all nurses worldwide on their dedication, empathy, and devotion to the profession and the patients we serve.”

Ethical Practice Isn’t Just Lip Service

Treating patients with compassion and respect has always been part of nurses’ creed. According to ethics expert and educator, Carol Taylor’s article, “Are you an ethics champion?” nurses operate within the following three core responsibilities:

  • Ensuring every patient and family member is treated with compassion and respect.
  • Supporting patients and their surrogates as they make healthcare decisions.
  • Resolving conflict about the plan of care.

“Perhaps never before has it been so important for nurses to be skilled in recognizing and responding to everyday ethical challenges,” Taylor, PhD, RN, said in the article.

Nurses’ Compassion Embodies Heroic Acts and Advocacy

Over the years, nurses have been at the forefront of stories that illustrate their compassion. The public has often witnessed firsthand nurses’ work before, during, and after hurricanes and other natural disasters, in the aftermath of mass shootings, and more. But their work in 2020 during the pandemic has demonstrated their importance and self-sacrifice like never before.

“One typically does not enter the nursing field for fame or fortune, but rather as a way to serve others,” said Morales. “It’s great to see nurses continue to be respected and celebrated for how they care for others with their minds, time, energy, and hearts.”

 

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About the Author:

Sallie Jimenez
Sallie Jimenez is content manager for healthcare for Nurse.com from Relias. She develops and edits content for the Nurse.com blog, which covers industry news and trends in the nursing profession and healthcare. She also develops content for the Nurse.com Digital Editions. She has more than 25 years of healthcare journalism, content marketing and editing experience.

10 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Linda Nance December 27, 2018 at 11:34 pm - Reply

    My Daughter is a Nurse she has the kindest heart most loving soul she was ment to be one!

  2. Avatar
    Parmaram December 29, 2018 at 9:18 am - Reply

    Nice

  3. Avatar
    ShaRN December 30, 2018 at 3:04 am - Reply

    Thank you Sally for this great article!

  4. Avatar
    Caren Simpson December 30, 2018 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    My daughter has been in nursing and health care for almost 40 years. She is always thinking of how to help others. She is so caring and kind.

  5. Avatar
    Blessing Amobi January 2, 2019 at 6:31 am - Reply

    This is very powerful

  6. Avatar
    Roselyn Zulu January 3, 2019 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    I’m very proud to be blessed with my Profession has a nurse ! My God gave me the favor to belong to this mighty highly respected profession.Salute to all nurses around the world.

  7. Avatar
    Carmen Bertelsen January 24, 2021 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    I am a Nurse. I am so proud of my profession! Nurses are typically, truth tellers. They advocate for their patients and their families. They often are the ones that tell you what you need to hear which may not be what want to hear. They assess situations rapidly and strive for excellence and positive outcomes. Listen to a nurse. They give it to you straight.

  8. Avatar
    Rachel Philip January 24, 2021 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    Proud of that I am a Nurse.

  9. Avatar
    LaRene S. Branch February 13, 2021 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    I have been in nursing since 1980, I started as an Aid, there was no college to go to so I was taught in house how to do V/S, bath and care for the people. I then went to school in 1982 after having my second son, he was8 months old when I started. I graduated and worked 14 months as an LPN when I realized I wanted to be an RN, it took me another 5 years to accomplish that goal. In 1989 I graduated with my BSN. I worked hard to get my degree, but if it were not for the Lord I would of never got my foot in the door. I went in the Army for 4 years when I was 32 to serve my country. Being a nurse has been a calling for me. I am retiring in the next few months from the VA where I have been for 17 years. My next job is working for my Doctor in her office and possible side jobs. I have worked with some of the best nurses who mentored me and taught me because no matter how long you are a nurse learning is always an on going process in our profession. I am very glad to see how people have finally realized the importance of nursing in our country, we all need to be appreciated and recognized for the love and devotion we give to our patients and there loved ones. Nurses are taught to accept everyone for who they are and care for them no matter what.

  10. Avatar
    LaRene S. Branch February 13, 2021 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Being a nurse has been a calling for me. I am retiring in the next few months from the VA where I have been for 17 years. My next job is working for my Doctor in her office and possible side jobs. I have worked with some of the best nurses who mentored me and taught me because no matter how long you are a nurse learning is always an on going process in our profession. I am very glad to see how people have finally realized the importance of nursing in our country, we all need to be appreciated and recognized for the love and devotion we give to our patients and there loved ones. Nurses are taught to accept everyone for who they are and care for them no matter what.

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