When you think about the types of careers held by people with high standards for ethics and honesty, it’s no surprise that the care-giving and health fields are at the top of the list. However, once again, Gallup’s 2014 poll found that Americans view nurses as the most trustworthy profession—a higher ranking than given to medical doctors and pharmacists which tied for second.
Periodically since 1976 and annually since 1990, Gallup has asked Americans to rate their perception of both ethics and honesty in different types of careers. Nurses were first included in the survey in 1999. For most of the new millennium, nurses have been rated at least “very high or high level of ethics and honesty” by 80% of individuals surveyed. In fact, in 2012 an applause-worthy 85% of Americans said they viewed nurses as at least a high level of trustworthiness. The only exception to this was in the early 2000’s when firefighters were included in the survey and it was in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
If nurses were voted extremely high on levels of trustworthiness, it was pretty predictable which professions Americans considered very unethical or dishonest. You may have guessed that car salesman and members of congress were among the bottom two trusted professions, respectively. People in fields like advertising, banking, business, and law also performed relatively low in their survey findings for trustworthiness. Nurses has consistently lead the pack in ratings of moral perceptions even beating out other professions like grade school teachers, daycare staff, and elder caregivers.
It seems that none of the ratings significantly changed from their ratings in the previous few years. One interesting development that has emerged from the survey, however, is the drop law enforcement has seen in the past year. It seems that due to a lot of the media coverage in 2014 and events that unfolded have caused decreased levels of perceived honesty and ethics in police. Fewer nonwhite respondents were saying that they felt police officers had high levels of trustworthiness.
Additionally, perhaps because of the Ebola scare that occurred this fall, there was a slight decrease in levels of overall trust this year as compared with last year’s results. And overall, there have not been any improvements in trustworthiness in any fields. Nurses even were a few percent down from 2013’s results.
The survey was conducted December 8-11, 2014. The sample size was random and consisted of 805 adults (over age 18) citizens in all the 50 states and was a phone interview (50% cellphones, 50% landlines dialed randomly.)
This 2014 survey, and the other surveys conducted in previous years, continue to remind us how respected and beloved nurses are.