Nurses rank # 1 once again in Gallup poll for ethics and honesty

By | 2022-09-22T13:32:28-04:00 December 21st, 2016|Tags: , , |32 Comments

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.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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About the Author:

Eileen Williamson, MSN, RN
Eileen Williamson, MSN, RN, continues to write and act as a consultant for Before joining the company in 1998, Eileen was employed by North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in New York (now Northwell Health System) where she held a number of leadership positions in nursing and hospital administration, including chief nurse at two of their System hospitals. She holds a BSN and an MSN in nursing administration and is a graduate fellow of the Johnson & Johnson University of Pennsylvania Wharton School Nurse Executives program. A former board member and past president of the New Jersey League for Nursing, a constituent league of the National League for Nursing, Eileen currently is a member of the Adelphi University, College of Nursing and Public Health Advisory Board.


  1. Avatar
    Jita Narzary December 22, 2016 at 2:19 am - Reply

    I fell so lucky n proud to be a nurse…I m being blessed with this noble profession..n I m striving to b the best I can be..


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    Susan Edamala December 22, 2016 at 1:31 pm - Reply


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    Gary Walter December 22, 2016 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    Do you have a link to the original article/poll?

    • Sallie Jimenez
      Sallie Jimenez December 22, 2016 at 8:25 pm - Reply

      Hello Gary,

      The link has been added to the article (first paragraph). Thank you for your question.

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    [email protected] December 23, 2016 at 12:24 am - Reply

    Proud to be a Nurse and honored the public respects and trusts Nurse so greatly.Now we have to wo rd k on better pay to better compensate our knowledge, education and focus on safety and the person as a whole.

    Nurse Nancy

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    Martha December 23, 2016 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    Makes me proud to be a nurse !!

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    David Cox December 23, 2016 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Great article! Would be helpful to have social media links–people need to know!

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    alita h stack December 24, 2016 at 2:07 am - Reply

    I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education before I went to Nursing program.Since becoming an R.N. in 1971 until now I am still practicing nursing ( part time now) I am so proud of my profession!

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    Taghreed al smadi December 24, 2016 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    Im jordanian nurse and iso proud

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    Janice Lottermann December 28, 2016 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    So proud to be a nurse.

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    Lisa Zelinski,RN January 1, 2017 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    We as nurses can all be proud that we have earned the public’s trust. But let’s remember that this trust is something that we must continue to work for every day, every time we work with our patients. And this trust in us nurses as professionals makes us responsible to always maintain the highest standards of care we can provide. And to always work to make that level of care available to ALL patients!

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    Arthur Espino January 1, 2017 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    I knew there was a reason for liking to work my fellow nurses! I’m looking forward to another 20 year as a nurse! Happy New Year!!

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    Karen Moses January 1, 2017 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    Yes!living my dream job. A nurse.

  13. Avatar
    Karen Moses January 1, 2017 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    Yes!living my dream job. A nurse.

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    Marie Accorde January 1, 2017 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    I love nursing…it is life! We are needed, but why are we so ignored? Why are teachers, police, firemen always honored so much in the media…rewards…articles…where are our public relations people? What the public still sees on TV is so
    demeaning on some shows…where are our health benefits? We have to work until we are 65!! It’s not easy in this profession…why doesn’t the government, to address the shortage give us some perks? We don’t even have good pensions…I still love nursing but I need to be cared for as well.

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      David M. Brandt RN October 29, 2017 at 12:08 pm - Reply

      Retired after 31 yrs. as a RN!! Was proud every second of everyday to be a nurse!! From passing my boards to walking out the hospital doors for the last time, after my retirement party!! Still am and will always proudly renew my license, until I breathe my last breath!! So glad my kids want nothing to do do with the unethical attorneys’ law schools seem only know how to produce these days!! Let’s work on reversing the pay that attorneys receive win or lose in many cases while nurses have to win every time and in every situation, from saving a life to comforting a dying pt. and helping their grieving family to cope and provide resources to assist in the process!! Unfortunately, with the nursing shortage and schools forced to accept individuas with less than the true calling to become a nurse, we’re seeing a change that I hope enough truly called individuals will always be left to direct these “job and paycheck” only individuals,

      so they don’t lessen and degrade our hard earned position as No. 1 most ethical, honest and trustworthy profession of all since 2000!! The day one ever sees a RN take a knee in a ridiculous protest, is the day the music stops!! Permanently individual employment wise and once off hospital property, possibly health wise!! May see a nurse on their knees looking for a carelessly dropped surgical needle on the O.R. floor or finding a pts. dropped personal belonging!! But out of disrespect for this great nation? NEVER!!

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        nursey no more June 6, 2018 at 4:38 pm - Reply

        good post, but when i witness coworkers peers losing licenses because of a corrupt board of nursing , i hope those retired will speak up for those working who cannot! AZSTATEBOARDOFNURSINGCORRUPTIONWATCHDOGS my story will be posted at some point i have attended the meetings and NO their are corrupt their decisions are all over the place. And in a lot of cases did NOTHING WRONG. Using psych to take nurses down low lives. some of us did not get that retirement party, did not get to choose to end a long career on a happy note. instead you read crazy stuff on the web. when a nurse calls the police on a dangerous tenant and loses her license , yes tenant in apts owned by corrupt hospital YUMA REGiONAL, who didnt want the bad publicity out there . and complaint by a nurse imposter !!! no license worked there 13 yrs, oh yea , she is on the imposter list. there’s more !! to this nut job board corruption !! and the AZNA is in bed with them !!!

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    LaDonna January 1, 2017 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    True we are part of very intimate moments from birth to death and sometime both in the same hour. For me nursing is my livelihood but also my mission.

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    Karen January 1, 2017 at 11:50 pm - Reply

    I’ve been a nurse for over 40 years and it is the most challenging yet rewarding profession there is . So very glad to be a part of helping others everyday . Nurses Rock!!!!!

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    Paula Hunsicker January 2, 2017 at 6:12 am - Reply

    Congratulations to all my fellow nurses and all in training. I am so proud to be a part of a great profession. I worked as a nurse from 1972-2011, most of that time was as a CEN ER RN, Trauma RN, MICN AND CHARGE RN. Though retired, I still have an active license. I hated to part with it, I worked so hard to get it. I worked full time evenings and went to school full time, so you can understand why I want to keep it active. Plus, I can’t imagine a more rewarding job.

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    Wanda J. Larry January 2, 2017 at 6:16 am - Reply

    I have tried to leave the nursing field after many years (retired). Eventually returned as I have not found a field that gives as much satisfaction as being a nurse. I work mainly with the geriatric population now and enjoy it tremendously.

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    Nurse Mary January 2, 2017 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    I am so proud to be part of a profession that has taught me much about the human spirit and life!
    We often forget out roots, leaving our compasses behind.
    We get caught up more in the “Nurse Scientist”, losing sight of the Art.
    We eat our own.
    Those who do not value our worth are those who would flounder, crash and burn without us. (No, not the patients.)
    Our vital importance to all of the commitments that surround us, hinder us from unifying to move our mission beyond the terms set forth by other entities. (Can you see the parallels to the history of women throughout time?)
    We are powerful, earth-moving people who know how to roar!

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    KATIE CONNER January 2, 2017 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Apparently this people who do the poll are not familiar with the AZ BON , and any other board that takes a nurse down for political reasons. Steals a career and a paycheck.

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    Nat January 2, 2017 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Love ❤️ nursing. Best decision I ever made as a youth. Lifelong learning and values have made such a difference in the quality of my life….

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    JF Patterson January 2, 2017 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    The public trust is well deserved. When I went for my BSN and RN, my fellow students were motivated by a motivation to do perform meaningful work through the care and service of others. Most often, there is a long history of service within their families. Nursing has high education requirements and service standards.
    It can be physically damaging, emotionally draining and is not well compensated on front lines of care.
    When people enter nursing, they enter it for the express reasons to serve, educate and safeguard patients and their families. The Nightingale pledge exemplifies these values.
    Nursing is younger person’s game. All nurses must plan for the day they are no longer able to work in high demand settings. Injury and disability are common in a profession where physical and verbal assault frequently occur. Financial planning should be taught in school. Salaries should be raised to a level to exceed the basic costs of living and allow solid retirement savings.
    There is no longer career security in the nursing profession. Age discrimination is rampantly practiced by employers and younger staff.

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    Peary Brown January 2, 2017 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    This poll is a general public poll and its good news. In the field I wish this to be true. It is not. I find there is a huge difference between staff nurses and adm/regulatory agencies. I think those in upper management aren’t especially concerned with what the staff nurse must face and isn’t overly thrilled in satisfying staff desires. The nursing boards are simply clueless to the struggles of the everyday bedside nurse. If they can pass ‘another’ regulation then it has to be good. The staff nurse can not count on management or the regulatory agencies to be considerate of the staff nurses’ complaints especially when it comes to staff ratios. Every year nurses flood D.C. with rallies trying to promote patient safety and get laws mandating nurse patient ratios. Calif/Massachusetts so far throw us a bone.Two states, wow, geez thanks!! Now documented clearly as the 3rd leading cause of death is the health care system itself, thats the evidence shoring up my beef with management and the regulatory agencies.

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    Marie Luisa Campbell January 2, 2017 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    In my long professional history I striven to be the unforgettable DON pioneer that left an honorable provider trajectory in the healthcare professional group for several institutions.
    Because every client deserve a high quality healthcare. I recruited and retain nursing staff to happily serve our clients. I facilitated their employment process and cheer all the way their success.
    I emphasized the importance to improve the professional education. I got their attention and cooperation as a result, ensuring their professional demand, profitability, and dependability to deal with demanding challenges of a disease process.
    I encouraged and supported their nurse’s dream to reach higher standards and values for job stability, self-satisfaction. With this vision Nurses complete a well done job knowing they will receive a well earn recognition. Knowing they are part of a happy productive team. I’ m committed to treat my nursing staff with the utmost dignity and respect as honesty and respect are the umbrella that covers a family and a sound base of any solid business.

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    Denise Nyholt January 2, 2017 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    I am humbled in my profession every day by the amazing people I care for. Striving to make a difference.

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    Sonja January 3, 2017 at 5:29 am - Reply

    Lucky me. What a profession. Never stopped going to school so I could stay up on so many changes. After 57 years of continual nursing in practically every field of nursing I thank God 4 allowing me to care for people that needed relief from their miseries & allowing me to raise 5 healthy children. Listening when people are ill is a nursing skill.Thanks for so many nurses who think of ill people, not just money & R responsible & give so much of themselves.

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    MAD RN January 3, 2017 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Nursing, the good and the bad. There is no more satisfying profession than nursing. However,nurses must unite in order to advance the field and care for our fellow RNs that are frequently damaged and discarded by the employers and current eco-political system. There are nursing unions and I strongly encourage ALL nurses to join.

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    Melody McMillan, BSN, CDE, RN January 3, 2017 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    So proud be nurse. I have been an RN/BSN for 45 years and cannot imagine being in any other profession. To be a nurse was my chosen career since age 5 and I still continue to be active! Thanks to all of you who join me in this most noble profession.

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    C.P.Ramasesh April 23, 2017 at 6:35 am - Reply

    I am so thrilled that nursing profession ranks first in all surveys.


    CP Ramasesh

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