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Nurses Voted 'Most Trusted' Profession, Again

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, December 11, 2012

The American public trusts nurses more than any other profession in the country.

According to the annual Gallup poll, 85% of Americans rated nurses' honesty and ethical standards as "very high" or "high," the highest rating for RNs since nurses were first included in the poll in 1999.

Nurses out-ranked pharmacists, doctors, dentists, and psychiatrists. They're viewed as more honest than police officers and members of the clergy. In fact, since RN's first appearance in the ranking, Gallup says that nurses have received the highest ranking each year except 2001, when firefighters ranked first after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The American Nurses Association uses the high rankings to encourage policymakers to listen to nurses' concerns when making choices regarding healthcare issues.

"This poll consistently shows that people connect with nurses and trust them to do the right thing," ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, said in a statement. "Policymakers should do the same as they debate crucial budget decisions that will affect health care quality and access for millions of Americans."

As I read the data, I wondered why nurses are perceived to be so trustworthy. Why do they outrank physicians, whom many see as the final word in our healthcare decisions, whom we trust to prescribe us medicine and even cut us open?

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