Nurses Are Most Trusted Professionals, New Poll Says

Nurses Are Most Trusted Professionals, New Poll Says

Nurses are the most trusted professionals in America, new poll results show. For the 22nd year in a row, they are perceived more often as ethical, even compared to doctors, clergy, and pharmacists.

The badge of trustworthiness comes from the annual Gallup 2023 Honesty and Ethics poll, which revealed that 78% of people in the U.S. say nurses have high or very high levels of honesty and ethical standards. 

The poll gauges people’s beliefs about 23 professions. Veterinarians ranked second in trustworthiness, followed by engineers and dentists. Medical doctors ranked fourth, with 56% of respondents rating them as having high or very high honesty and ethical standards. At the bottom of the list of trustworthy professionals were senators, members of Congress, car salespeople, advertisers, and stockbrokers.

The poll asked 800 people to rate the trustworthiness of 23 types of professionals, and the responses were gathered between Dec. 1 and Dec. 20. Gallup started the annual ethics poll in 1976, and this year’s responses charted some all-time lows among trust in professionals like politicians, and confidence in most other professions declined, too. For nurses, the trust metric is down 11 percentage points from its peak of 89% in 2020.

The head of a U.S. nurse training program said the Gallup poll results reflect the deep impact nurses can make when working with patients.

“Nurses are the persons who spend the most time with the patient, and we’re the ones they share the most vulnerable information with,” Annette Wysocki, PhD, RN, dean of the University at Buffalo School of Nursing, said in a statement. “During the most vulnerable times of their lives, they know nurses will advocate for them; nurses have the most contact with all other health care professions giving care to a patient, so we’re able to be a patient’s voice and navigate the layers in order to do what’s best for them.”

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Among the numerous nursing professions, there are an estimated 3.2 million registered nursing positions in the U.S., and 655,000 licensed practical and vocational nursing positions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Registered nurses’ average pay in 2022 was $81,220 annually, or about $39 per hour, while licensed and vocational nurses’ median pay was $54,620 annually, or $26 per hour.

The American Nurses Association applauded the poll results.

“Given the considerable hardship and obstacles the nurses we advocate for are facing, including unsafe work environments, severe burnout, and barriers to practice to name a few, this recognition is a true testament to the positive influence of nurses on their patients and their undeniable impact on the health care system,” ANA President Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, said in a statement. “It’s a tremendous honor to receive this special validation from the very public these nurses serve. And it’s equally important for nurses to hear this acclaim as it raises the morale of our nurses – it couldn’t be more timely or appreciated. This is important.”


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