Nurses Remain Most Honest, Ethical Profession in 2017 Gallup Poll


Congratulations to US nurses who have once again topped all other professions in the annual Gallup poll in which the American public is asked to rate the honesty and ethical standards of different occupations. The profession has now achieved the distinction of being the most trusted profession for 16 years in a row.

The results of the 2017 poll, which were released on December 26, showed that nursing bettered 21 other occupations with 82% of the respondents rating the profession’s honesty and ethical standards as high or very high. Only 2% rated them as low or very low. In comparison, medical doctors came in third with a high or very high rating of 65% and pharmacists fourth at 63%. In 2016 pharmacists and medical doctors were in second and third place respectively, but they were overtaken in 2017 by military officers (71%) and grade school teachers (66%).

Nursing has taken the lead in the poll since it was included in the list in 1999, except in 2001 when firefighters were included in the wake of 9/11 and were given a high or very high rating by 90% of the respondents. There have also only been two years in which the nursing profession dipped below 80% to 79%.


The poll is conducted by asking a random sample of adults, in a telephone interview, to rate the honesty and ethical standards of various professions on a scale ranging from very high to very low. The sample represents all States and results are statistically weighted for various factors, including population demographics.

“Nurses provide much more than bedside care. We advocate for patients, deliver primary care, meet the complex needs of patients with chronic conditions, volunteer for disaster relief efforts, and are a trusted voice in boardrooms across the country,” said Pamela F. Cipriano, president of the American Nurses Association (ANA), after the announcement of the results.  “ANA is committed to supporting and encouraging nurses to be advocates at all levels and to be influencers of positive change for our patients, our colleagues, and our nation.”

Nurses are making a difference every day, everywhere. They can rightly be proud of the level of trust which the public places in them and should work towards upholding this trust during every encounter with patients, colleagues and the community – by maintaining the highest possible standards and accepting personal accountability in daily practice.


Frieda Paton is a registered nurse with a Master’s degree in nursing education. Her passion for nursing education, nursing issues and advocacy for the profession were ignited while she worked as an education officer, and later editor, at a national nurses’ association. This passion, together with interest in health and wellness education since her student days, stayed with her throughout her further career as a nurse educator and occupational health nurse. Having reached retirement age, she continues to contribute to the profession as a full-time freelance writer. In the news and feature articles she writes for Nurseslabs, she hopes to inspire nursing students and nurses on the job to reflect on the trends and issues that affect their profession and communities - and play their part in advocacy wherever they find themselves.

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