Gallup Poll: Nurses Rated Highest in Honesty and Ethical Standards in 2013


By Richard Craver

The 2013 annual Gallup poll of 1,031 U.S. adults, released this week, found that 82 percent rank nurses as “very high” or “high” in both categories. Having nurses chosen for the 11th consecutive year as the country’s most honest and ethical profession is both humbling and validating to nurses.

Survey respondents were asked to rate 22 professions. Lobbyists and members of Congress ranked at the bottom, with 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

“The Gallup poll just confirms again what nurses already are hearing consistently from their patients,” said Lenora Campbell, assistant dean of nursing at Winston-Salem State University.

“Nurses make a strong commitment to the patients they serve, to provide them with the level of care they need and a willingness to advocate for patients at the administrative and board room levels.”

Campbell said nursing-school graduates understand the high expectations that patients, families and society as a whole have for them.

“It is integrated and intertwined into the core of nursing training,” Campbell said.

Nurses have topped the rankings every year since 1999 except for 2001, when firefighters were listed first. Gallup, which began the poll in 1976, began including nurses in 1999.

Since 2005, nurses have drawn a “high” or “very high” rating from at least 80 percent of poll participants.

The health-care industry is well represented at the top of the poll, with pharmacists ranked at 70 percent and medical doctors at 69 percent.

“When it comes to honesty or ethical standards, common stereotypes appear to apply to professions or career fields,” Gallup said in a statement.

“Professions to be in ‘healing’ occupations rank the highest, while the old typecast of the used-car salesman persists with car salespeople ranking near the bottom in honesty and ethics.”

Kelly Swauger, a nursing director at Forsyth Medical Center, said living up to high honesty and ethical standards is a “huge responsibility.” Swauger has been in the nursing profession for 27 years.

It’s also a necessity, Swauger said, given that nurses are with patients and their family members at some of the most joyful – and painful – times.

“We are caring for some patients when they are at their most vulnerable,” Swauger said. “They need to be able to trust that we will be ethical in communicating for them, whether they are children or patients dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

“That would not be possible if they were skeptical or suspicious of our services.”

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center said in a statement that the Gallup poll is just one example of the respect nurses have earned.

“Nurses care for the body, mind, and spirit and act as patient advocates, teachers and coaches,” the hospital said. “Wake Forest Baptist is proud of its nurses who provide expert compassionate care tirelessly to their patients and families.”


Articles in this issue:


  • Masthead

    Editor-in Chief:
    Kirsten Nicole

    Editorial Staff:
    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Robyn Bowman
    Kimberly McNabb
    Lisa Gordon
    Stephanie Robinson

    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Liz Di Bernardo
    Cris Lobato
    Elisa Howard
    Susan Cramer

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