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Americans again proclaim nursing is most honest, ethical profession

Tuesday May 1, 2012
Nancy Baker, RN
Nancy Baker, RN
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When asked which profession they think is the most honest and ethical, Americans regularly rank nursing No. 1. Nursing has topped Gallupís annual poll consistently, since the profession was first included in 1999.

Since then, nursing has held the top spot every year, except 2001, the year of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when nurses ranked second behind firefighters. In Gallupís 2011 poll, which randomly surveyed 1,012 U.S. adults, nursing was No. 1 of the 21 professions ranked.

Nancy Baker, RN, BSN, CPN
Clinical Leader ē Herman and Walter Samuelson Childrenís Hospital at Sinai, Baltimore


Being a nurse puts you on the front line of healthcare. You are the first person a patient and the family meet when admitted to the hospital. As a nurse, you have the opportunity to build a trusting relationship and be a confidant. In building that relationship, you listen objectively and intuitively to detect the patientís concerns and fears and offer a caring ear. Also, a nurse has a caring touch, which at times is the reassurance the patient needs. The nurse is the person at the patientís bedside assessing both physically and emotionally, taking the results and concerns to the healthcare team. As a nurse, my patients know I will be their voice.


Kim Vohrer, RN
Kim Vohrer, RN, PCCN
Clinical Partner, Unit 38 (Telemetry) ē Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Baltimore


When patients are in the acute care setting, they depend on their nursing team to provide them with competent and professional care. These patients are often in their most vulnerable state, so frequently they develop a trusting relationship with the bedside nurses caring for them day in and day out.

Nurses advocate for their patientsí needs and rights, ensuring that the appropriate interventions are in place. When patients have pain or a question about their plan of care, they call the nurse. It is not surprising that these professionals, who are inherently nurturing and caring, are the most trusted in America.


Karen Swierzbinski, RN
Karen Swierzbinski, RN
Joint Academy/Orthopedic ē Howard County General Hospital, Columbia, Md.


Why should people trust nurses? After all, nurses generally are strangers when they begin caring for a patient. Our mothers told us to never talk to strangers. So why do we allow these women and men to care for us and our loved ones? I think itís the way a nurse reaches out to touch your hand or hug you when you really need it the most. Itís the way nurses explain and help you understand the difficult news you have just received.

They do their best to take time with each patient, though we know they have seemingly a million other things to do. Itís the way they smile ó though sometimes they are very tired, hungry and stressed ó because they genuinely care about patients and love what they do. They do all this, even though they are just strangers.


Sally Steinbach, RN
Sally Steinbach, RN, BSN
Research Nurse, Fetal and Transitional Medicine ē Childrenís National Medical Center, Washington, D.C.


Nurses are the most trusted professionals in America because we stand with our patients and their families and bear witness to their experience. As a research nurse in the ICU of a pediatric hospital, I see their trust every day at the bedside while I collect data from the most fragile patients.

Parents trust me to keep their babies safe, while we work to discover ways to prevent brain injuries and maximize the best possible outcomes for their children Ė and others who will come after them. Parents trust me to ensure our research doesnít disrupt clinical care, and to explain what is happening in a way they understand. They want me to speak up if I feel something isnít quite right with their child. Parents trust me because they trust nurses to care about their family.


Pascha Mascarello, RN
Pascha Mascarello, RN
Registered Nurse ē Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, Rockville, Md.


I am reminded of the Florence Nightingale pledge, which ends with ď ... devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.Ē Nursing attracts a special breed of person. Nurses need to be servants at heart. We are true humanitarians.

Regardless of whether our patients come from a prison or from the most privileged of homes, we see a person in need and treat them as we would want our loved ones to be treated. Thatís the key.

When patients are at their most vulnerable, nurses are the ones they let in. We are their source of knowledge and strength in a world of turmoil. It is who we are and how we practice.


Lois Lamich, RN
Lois Lamich, RN
4H ICU-Burn Unit ē MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Washington, D.C.


Wow! Nursing topped the Gallup poll for the most honest and ethical profession again! I think it is in our role as patient advocate that we are perceived as uniquely honest and ethical. Others in healthcare may be suspected of being influenced by vendors, payors or politics. Nurses advocate for patients without any conflict of interest. Nurses arenít courted by vendors.

We wonít gain financially or politically from one care decision or another. When our patients and their families are most vulnerable, we are there to care for them. We develop close relationships with them and they perceive us as caring, altruistic and nurturing. Our patients trust that we will listen to them, communicate honestly with them, and advocate for them to meet their healthcare goals. I think this poll shows recognition and trust in nursesí integrity as patient advocates. As nurses, we should be committed to repeating this honor next year.


Joyce Berkley, RN
Joyce Berkley, RN, MA, CAPA
Registered Nurse ē MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, Baltimore


Nurses are advocates for a diverse patient population. We listen compassionately to our patientís concerns to establish a true bond.

Our patients have a true buy-in, in what we are about ó caring for patients in a safe environment.

Nurses need to shout about the great work we are doing to maintain that trust for our patients.


Michael Willie, RN
Michael Willie, RN
MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, Baltimore


Nursing is the most trusted profession because we deal with patients, their families and friends on such a personal level. We often need to be emotional, spiritual and physical with those we tend to. Every day, nurses remain genuine while balancing different patients with distinctive needs.

The ability to alleviate the stressors of our patients and soothe their anxieties without them feeling slighted gets a sincere response from our patients, and thatís how a bond is formed.


Martha Lefferts, RN
Martha Lefferts, RN
Clinical Nurse 1, NICU ē University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore


Trust ó in its simplest definition ó is the reliance on the integrity, strength and ability of a person or thing. It is no surprise that nursing has been recognized by the public once again as the most trusted profession in America. Nurses not only are present with patients in their most intimate and vulnerable moments of illness, but also they are there in the strongest and most joyful moments of recovery. As nurses, we seek to be the ultimate advocate for our patients, taking an active role as part of the healthcare team. Evidence-based research and patient outcomes drive our practice at the bedside in order to provide the highest level of care for patients and families. It is the combination of science, leadership and compassion that allows nurses to foster a therapeutic and trusting relationship with patients, which ultimately demonstrates the high level of commitment we feel to those we care for.


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