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Nurses rank as most trusted profession yet again

Tuesday December 13, 2011
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Nurses maintained their dominance atop Gallup's annual poll on trustworthy professions, topping the list for the 12th time in the 13 years they have been included as an option.

The survey was conducted Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 among a random sample of 1,012 adults representing all 50 states and Washington, D.C. When asked to rate the honesty and ethical standards of nurses, 84% responded with "very high" or "high," while 15% responded "average" and only 1% responded "low" or "very low."

The 84% positive response is tied for the highest rating nurses have achieved; they received the same rating in 2001, 2006 and 2008. The only year nurses did not finish first in the survey since their inclusion was 2001, when firefighters took the top spot in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Medical professions abounded at the top of the list of 21 professions, with pharmacists (73% positive response) and medical doctors (70%) rounding out the top three. The lowest-rated professions, with a 7% positive response, were car salespeople, lobbyists and members of Congress.

"Americans are as positive as they have ever been about those in medical professions, though the public has always held doctors, nurses and pharmacists in high esteem," Gallup noted in a news release.

"The public's continued trust in nurses is well-placed, and reflects an appreciation for the many ways nurses provide expert care and advocacy," American Nurses Association President Karen A. Daley, RN, PhD, MPH, FAAN, said in a news release. "Major national policy initiatives also show trust in nurses. The Affordable Care Act and the Future of Nursing recommendations call on nurses to take more leadership roles and collaborate fully with other professionals in providing essential healthcare to a growing number of people who will have greater access to services."

ANA noted a recent high-profile legal case that underscored the commitment nurses demonstrate to patient safety and quality. In 2009, two Texas nurses reported a physician at their hospital for unsafe practices. The nurses withstood intimidation and criminal charges, and held firm to their principles (http://bit.ly/tMRplh).

When the legal battles concluded in November, four individuals involved with bringing charges against the nurses were either convicted or pled guilty to misuse of official information and retaliation.

To read the full results of the Gallup poll, visit http://bit.ly/rPpNGF.

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