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Nurses Shining Exception to Public's Dim View of Healthcare

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, May 1, 2012

Americans are having a hard time paying for their prescription drugs. They're not confident in their ability to afford health insurance. They don't trust pharmaceutical companies. They think Medicare needs an overhaul, but don't want to be the ones to foot the bill. And they think that doctors and hospitals should be paid based on quality and results, rather than the volume of care they provide.

A lot of people are pretty down on healthcare in this country. In fact, in a Gallup poll last summer the healthcare industry ranked near the bottom in terms of popularity, right around real estate and energy.  Only the federal government earned a lower standing. A recent Rasmussen poll found that only 6% of likely US voters think the performance of Congress is good or excellent.

But there's one bright spot, a group of people for whom warm feelings never seem to wane, despite the chilly climate around them.

That bright spot is nursing, which the Gallup Poll consistently ranks as the most honest and ethical profession. In fact, the latest poll shows that 84% of respondents think nurses are high or very high on the ethics and honesty scale.

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2 comments on "Nurses Shining Exception to Public's Dim View of Healthcare"


Jodi Gunther (5/2/2012 at 12:39 PM)
I am glad that nurses have been able to assist you and your family during your daughter's health problems. As a professional nurse however, it would be nice to be recognized for the training and skills that we bring to health care and not just the "warm fuzzies". Nursing is a complex profession requiring many hours of study and training. We are with you 24/7 at the bedside. Nurses are the ones who call the doctors to tell them about changes in a patient's condition. Just once I'd like to read an article that speaks to our education, skills, and experience, rather than those things mentioned in your article.

Steve Levine (5/2/2012 at 10:39 AM)
Hey - nurses are great. No question. (I'm married to one, and my daugher is one.) They have and continue to provide great care for patients. Indispensible. But to argue that nurses are a reputation exception in health care is wrong. Take a look at the excellent, multi-part project National Journal published this month, with great interviews based on 2011 Gallup numbers. http://nationaljournal.com/features/restoration-calls/in-nothing-we-trust-20120419 The "medical system" is one of the few American institutions whose trust has actually INCREASED over the past decade. And, in a special part of the series about physicians, National Journal reports, "Gallup, which has polled on public trust in professionals every year since 1976, reports high and rising marks for doctors. In the latest survey, from 2011, 70 percent of respondents rated medical doctors as high or very high when asked about their "honesty and ethical standards," a record. When the Kaiser Family Foundation asked Americans whom they trusted in 2009[INVALID]the height of the debate over the health care law[INVALID]78 percent said they believed that their doctors put patients' interests ahead of their own." http://www.nationaljournal.com/features/restoration-calls/why-we-trust-doctors-20120419?page=1 Check it out.