A recent political article mentioned Gallup’s “Honesty/Ethics in Professions” poll, noting that members of Congress rank very high in the “low/very low” ranking of ethics and honesty — for the first time, 55% of people rated members of the House of Representatives as low/very low, while U.S. Senators did slightly better at “only” 49% low/very low. The way the article was worded, I erroneously thought that the people were rating individual Congressmen, so I checked out the Gallup poll to see how my particular representatives did [whether they were included in the “9% high/very high” rating], and discovered that it was just a general “whadya think about [blank] profession.”
What was surprising to me, though, is the high margin that nurses had over all other professions — 83% of people polled said that nurses were either high or very high in professional ethics and honesty. The nearest “competitor” was pharmacists at 66%, followed by medical doctors at 65%. In just the “very high” category, nurses were nearly double, at 29%, over the nearest competitors, being police officers (17%), clergy(16%), pharmacists and medical doctors (15% apiece). [Members of Congress and Senators only got 2% apiece. Ouch.]
Only 2% of people rated nurses as “low”; nobody said “very low” (as opposed to 5 and 2, respectively, for medical doctors), with 1% having “no opinion” of either profession. I wonder what makes people have such a high impression of nurses vs. doctors. One thing might be that nurses tend to be more “in the trenches” than doctors are. For example, in birth, much of the time, doctors “manage” the birth remotely, getting updates on the phone either in the office or at home, and only coming in to catch the baby; whereas nurses are in the building the entire time, they’re the ones doing all the checks and medicine and monitoring and fetching of pillows and blankets, etc. Even in doctors’ offices (obstetric or otherwise), it is often nurses who spend more time with the patient (taking vital signs, getting a history, etc., and writing it all down for the doctor to glance at), with the doctor just popping in briefly.
So, nurses, we in the United States love you, and think you’re doing a bang-up job! Congratulations. 🙂