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Nurses Rank # 1 Once Again in Gallup Poll for Ethics and Honesty


Nursing is the leading profession when it comes to ethics and honesty, according to a well-known poll. Among professions surveyed by the annual Gallup honesty/ethics poll, nurses have been at the top of the list since 2001, and remain there after the latest survey conducted in December 2016. 

In that survey, 84% of respondents rated nurses as being very high or high as professionals who are honest and ethical. Nurses ranked at the top among 22 professions listed in the most recent survey. 

Eileen Williamson, RN

 "For the 15th consecutive year nursing again has received the amazing honor of being ranked the most trusted profession in the country by the American public," said Eileen Williamson, MSN, RN, senior vice president and chief nurse executive at 

"Few designations could be more of a professional badge of honor than being named first among the 22 professions surveyed in the Gallup poll for honesty and ethical standards. As a nurse, I could not be more proud of what the public thinks of my colleagues and the nursing profession." 

In the survey, respondents are asked to rate the honest and ethical standards of people in different fields, choosing among very high, high, average, low and very low. 

For the past 15 years, pharmacists and medical doctors ranked just below nurses, with members of Congress at the bottom of the list. 

This year, 67% of respondents rated pharmacists high or very high and 65% rated medical doctors high or very high. In all 15 years, no lower than 79% of respondents ranked nurses as high or very high in honesty and ethics, according to the Gallup poll. "We're allowed into some of the most private moments and important times of patients' lives," Williamson said. 

"Our focus on confidentiality and professionalism shows and both patients and the general public have noticed." Gallup conducts the surveys via telephone interviews with a random sampling of ate least 1,000 adults ages 18 and older living in the U.S. The margin of sampling error for this year's survey was + or - 4 percentage points, according to Gallup. 

"Few other professions [besides healthcare] fare so well in Gallup's annual look at honesty and ethical standards among various fields," wrote Jim Norman, in a Dec. 19 online article posted on"Healthy majorities of the American public continue to show a willingness to trust the honest and ethical standards of healthcare providers -- nurses, doctors, pharmacists and dentists," he wrote. 

Nurses have topped the list every year but once since Gallup began including nursing in the polls in 1999. Firefighters topped the list in 2001, when Gallup included that profession in its survey after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. "Whether nurses are by the bedside or in the board room, we continue to be a trusted resource and a vital part of our nation's healthcare system," Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, president of the American Nurses Association, said in an ANA news release. 

"This poll reflects the trust the public has in us, and we'll continue to work hard to keep that trust." A recent Great Britain survey showed similar results for 2016. Nurses were for the first time included in an annual survey that ranks professionals most trusted by the public, according to an online article published Dec. 5 by 

"Of 1,019 British participants aged 15 and over, 93% trusted nurses to tell them the truth. Doctors and teachers came next, at 91% and 88%, respectively," according to the article. "In Australia, nurses and firefighters had the highest level of trust (95% each), closely followed by doctors (94%), paramedics (94%) and pharmacists (93%)," according to a 2016 report, the article stated.

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