Nurses remained the undisputed leader in the 2020 annual most Gallup Poll in which the public is asked to rate the honesty and ethics of members of various occupations. This is not surprising at the end of a year during which nurses were at the forefront in the battle to save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many sacrificing their own lives.
Nurses earn an 89% public trust rating
For 19 years in a row, nurses have taken the lead in the Gallup honesty and ethics poll. Last year, nurses were rated very high by 41% of the respondents and high by 48%. Only 1% rated nurses low and there were no very low ratings.
The record 89% of respondents who rated nurses’ honesty and ethics as very high/high, represented a 4% increase on the previous year’s record high of 85%. It was also 12% higher than the next highest score of 77% for medical doctors.
2020 Gallup honesty and ethics poll
The poll took place during December 2020 via telephone interviews with a random sample of Americans representing all US states and DC. Respondents were asked how they would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in 15 different occupational fields – very high, high, average, low, or very low.
Health care professionals took two further places in the top four. Medical doctors had the second-highest ratings with a very high/high score of 77%, up 12 percentage points from 2019. Pharmacists took fourth place with a 71% positive rating.
Grade school teachers came in third with a very high/high rating of 75%. Given the negative press during the pandemic, it was not surprising that nursing home operators had a relatively low positive rating of 36%. Members of Congress and car salespeople earned the lowest ratings at 8%.
Nurses have earned the public trust
“Nurses have been tested in every way imaginable during 2020. The world watched as nurses lost numerous patients and colleagues to a highly communicable, deadly virus while trying to protect and preserve their communities with limited resources and support,” said Ernest Grant, President of the American Nurses Association. “Nevertheless, through it all, nurses have consistently proven they are resilient, selfless, and compassionate, risking their health and safety for the common good. Therefore, nurses are undoubtedly deserving of the public’s unwavering trust.”
While the Gallup Polls have shown for over two decades that nurses have earned public trust, this has not been translated into the policies and funding needed to address the longstanding issues in nursing. Hopefully, the stark realities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the shortage of nurses, will prompt policymakers to support the actions necessary to establish a strong nursing workforce for the future.