nursing ethics
Nursing News February 22, 2019

By Moira K. McGhee

Nurses Rank Highest for Honesty and Ethics 17 Years in a Row

Nurses face ethical challenges every day, but more than four out of five people say nurses can’t be beat for their honesty and nursing ethics.  

The latest Gallup poll findings saw nurses once again take the top spot, but it’s not the first time the American public has touted nurses as the most-trusted professionals. 

What are Nursing Ethics? 

Ethics are defined as moral principles that govern someone’s behavior or conduct.  

Nurses in all settings and roles are bound by the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics for Nurses, which include standards of professional conduct nurses adhere to in all their daily endeavors and decision-making processes.  

Ethics in nursing guide a nurse’s conduct both in and outside the workplace and help ensure the best patient care and outcomes.  

Nurses Top the Charts Again 

The American public honored nurses with the top spot in Gallup’s poll of honesty and ethical standards for an unprecedented 17th year in a row.  

The medical profession historically fares well in the poll, and 2018 was much the same. Doctors received high or very high marks from 67 percent of the people polled. Pharmacists weren’t far behind with a rate of 66 percent, but nurses outpaced them all.  

Nurses spend more time with patients than any other healthcare professional, which may be a large factor in 84 percent of respondents rating nurses as the most trusted in regards to honesty and ethics. 

Nurses Historically Rank First 

Gallup has been measuring public opinion of the honesty and ethical standards of various professionals since 1976. Since nurses were added to the poll in 1999, they’ve ranked first every year with one exception.  

While nurses still received a prestigious 84 percent rating in 2001, they slipped into the No. 2 spot. Firefighters topped the list that year when 90 percent of respondents gave these brave professionals a high/very high rating, which is the highest rating to date. 

The nursing profession has long been a well-respected career, and nurses can take pride in the public’s high opinion of them.  

The Gallup poll has consistently shown that people connect with and trust nurses over all others. Check back next year to see if the public’s esteem of nursing professionals holds firm for a remarkable 18th consecutive year. 

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