January 14, 2019

Nurses Rank Most Honest Profession 17 Years in A Row

Nurses Rank Most Honest Profession 17 Years in A Row
Kathleen Gaines By: Kathleen Gaines

By Kathleen Colduvell-Gaines RN, BSN, BA, CBC

For the 17th year in a row, Registered Nurses top the list of the most honest and ethical professions according to the latest Gallup poll. More than four out of five Americans, 84% specifically, rated the honesty and ethical standards of nurses as “high” or “very high”. There were 19 other professions included in the poll that took place December 3-12, including firefighters, high school teachers, bankers, police officers, lawyers, clergy, and medical doctors. Telemarketers, car salespeople, and members of Congress rated the lowest in the poll.

The results of the telephone-based poll were based on 1,025 adults, 18 years of age and older, living in all 50 U.S. States and the District of Columbia were involved in the survey. Phone numbers were chosen at random and participants were not given compensation for participation.

Since the poll’s inception in 1976, different professions have rotated within the list, but some have consistently been present. Nurses first entered the list approximately twenty years ago. With the exception of 2001, nurses have ranked at the top of the list. In a post 9/11 America, firefighters earned the highest ranking that year.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) continues to believe that nurses should top the list each year without question. “Every day and across every health care setting, we are on the front lines providing care to millions of people. Nurses’ contributions to health care delivery, public health challenges, natural disaster relief efforts, research, education, and much more, are unmatched and invaluable,” said ANA president Pamela F. Cipriano, Ph.D., RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “These results are a testament to nurses’ impact on our nation.”

Healthcare Dominates

The top three professions are dominated by healthcare professions for the fifth year in a row. Medical doctors (67%) and pharmacists (66%) come in second and third respectively. It is clear the American public consistently views healthcare workers in a favorable light. It is interesting to note that there is no differentiation between bedside nurses, nurse educators, or nurse managers. It would be interesting to see the differences amongst those subsets.

Differences in the poll compared to last year are seen with a rise in the trust and honesty of journalists and the ongoing decline of clergy in the poll. Recent Presidential coverage has boosted journalists while clergy continues to decline due to the Roman Catholic Churches sex abuse cases.


The results of the poll are used by different nursing organizations to help further the plight of nurses and to encourage change in healthcare. The American Nurses Association (ANA) used the #1 ranking to persuade lawmakers to meet with nurses and listen to their concerns and ideas when making changes regarding healthcare issues.

After the 2011 results, former ANA president Karen A. Daley, Ph.D., MPH, RN, FAAN, made the following statement. "This poll consistently shows that people connect with nurses and trust them to do the right thing. Policymakers should do the same as they debate crucial budget decisions that will affect healthcare quality and access for millions of Americans." Despite this statement being from 2011, it still is very much relevant regarding healthcare in America today.

Year of advocacy

After ranking #1 in 2017, the ANA declared 2018 as the Year of Advocacy. The ANA believes that advocacy is a pillar of the nursing profession. Nurses advocate for their patients, workplaces, communities, and themselves. Without nurses, some patients would not be able to advocate for themselves. It is through advocacy that nurses continue to gain the trust and respect of their patients and families.

Advocacy wasn’t limited to just the bedside. In fact, the ANA encouraged nurses to become more involved in the fight to change healthcare for the better. To make a positive and lasting impact for future generations. Everyone is aware that the nursing shortage is real but without changes to healthcare legislation, the shortages will never change.

“As the largest group of healthcare professionals, nurses are leaders and change agents from the bedside to the boardroom,” said Cipriano. “This past June, nearly 300 nurses from 45 states conducted 277 scheduled visits with members of Congress and staff and were instrumental in the passage of critical legislation to help combat the opioid crisis. Nurses are a consistent and powerful voice in advocating for access to high quality, affordable health care for all. ANA empowers nurses to leverage their expertise and the diversity of the profession to influence changes that will best serve the needs of all people.”

Here at Nurse.Org, we applaud all of the nurses who continue to fight to change the lives of their patients and their families. We applaud the nursing students who are entering a profession that continues to advocate. We congratulate everyone one remaining the most trusted and ethical profession again. Let’s go for #18 in 2019!

Next Up: Nurse Night 2019 Nationwide Tour - Red Sox, Yankees, Cavaliers, Padres, Reds, Mets, and Athletics!


Email Signup

Find a job, learn, connect and laugh.

Try us out.

Join our newsletter