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Nursing: The Most Trusted Profession

Nurses Article Magazine   (1,220 Views 3 Replies 1,096 Words)
by Melissa Mills Melissa Mills, BSN (Member) Writer Innovator Verified

Melissa Mills has 20 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Health and Wellness Writing, Leadership.

9 Followers; 108 Articles; 21,396 Visitors; 266 Posts


For the 17th consecutive year, nursing was named the most trusted profession by the annual Gallup poll. While it might be easy for you to understand why your profession is number one year after year, it’s essential we take a deep dive into the reasons you and your colleagues are thought of so highly by the public.

Nursing: The Most Trusted Profession

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Think of one patient who changed your nursing career. Was it a baby who fought their way into this world or an elderly person at the end of life? Maybe it was a child who fought during a battle with cancer or the young mother and father who sat next to their bed night after night. We each have a story of someone who changed our professional lives for the better.

However, many people around the globe would argue that the more important part of this story is how your actions made the patient and their family feel. When they left the hospital or clinic, or you discharged them the agency, they likely never forgot your name or what you looked like. Your compassion and care created a bond in the center of your professional relationship. This bond is known as trust.

Nurses Are Most Trusted Profession

For the 17th consecutive year, nursing was named the most trusted profession by the annual Gallup poll. More than 4 of every 5 Americans rated the honesty and ethical standards of nurses as “very high” or “high.” Nursing was added to the poll in 1999 and has been at the top of the list every year except 2001 when firefighters won the vote just after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While it might be easy for you to understand why your profession is number one year after year, it’s essential we take a deep dive into the reasons you and your colleagues are thought of so highly by the public.

Understanding the Meaning of Trust

We can’t discuss the reasons nursing has outpaced all other professions unless we know what being trusted means. Trust is a belief in the truth, strength, and ability of others. It is formed during a relationship between two people. You can’t demand or expect it from the other person. It is created by your actions and words. It bubbles up when you tell someone that you will be there, take care of them, educate them, or support them and then follow through on that promise. Ethics and honesty are pivotal factors in trust.

Why are Nurses the Most Trusted?

As nursing continues to be at the top of the list on the annual poll, experts are starting to wonder why. There are several theories. Here are a few of the reasons why nurses are trusted by people across the country.

Level of Intimacy in the Relationship

Patients stand before their nurses naked (literally and figuratively) day after day. You help with elimination problems, care for them after surgeries or injuries, and listen as they tell you about their fears, failures, and battles. Your empathetic heart gives patients the confidence to tell you things they may have never shared with friends or family before.

According to a 2007 study on clinical intimacy in nursing practice, the connectedness in the nurse-patient relationship must be achieved practically and predictably way within the difficult constraints of the practice environment. It must be distinct from empathy in both concept and practice. The therapeutic nurse-patient relationship must be built on mutual trust, have shared meaning, and a strong sense of understanding.


A 2010 study published in Time reported that people perceived women to lie less than men. They also think of the type of lies told by the two sexes differently. The interesting thing is that men and women both admit to not telling the truth about 20-35 percent of the time during social interactions. Even though people may feel that women are more honest, there isn’t likely any real statistical significance.

You might be wondering why any of this matters. Nursing is a female-dominated profession. In fact, less than 10 percent of all nurses are men. This means that when individuals answered the poll about the jobs they trusted, they were thinking primarily of women. Some experts have argued that this could be one reason the profession tops the charts year after year.

While the fact that nursing is a predominantly female profession, it’s essential to point out a few things. First, male nurses are trustworthy. My personal experience has been that most of the men I’ve worked with throughout my career were trustworthy, and when the “you-know-what” hit the fan, I was happy they were by my side. The other thing to consider is that the specialties men choose might not be where patients remember the care they provided. Our 2018 Nursing Salary Survey collected information about specialty and found that most men who work as nurses can be found in emergency rooms, med-surg units, and on specialized cardiac care floors. Often patients are very ill when they are on these units and might not remember those who provided life-saving treatment when they are completing a survey months later.  

Code of Ethics

You learned many things in nursing school, from how to do an assessment to inserting IVs to how to teach patients about their diagnoses. However, one critical thing you learned that is probably ingrained into your daily practice is your code of ethics. The American Nurses Association created nine provisions that help nurses conduct their actions by the code. These provisions include practicing with compassion, being committed to the patient, and promoting, advocating for, and protecting the rights and safety of the patient at all times.

When a nurse’s actions align with these provisions, it creates a therapeutic relationship in which trust can grow. Patients and their families can see the nurse acting and working with their best interest at heart and know that their nurse selflessly and tirelessly provides the care they need to restore health. These heartfelt and sincere actions build a trusting relationship that creates the basis for all other care.

Will Nurses Remain the Most Trusted Profession?

There are many reasons that nurses have outpaced any other profession as the “most trusted.” While it’s hard to tell just how long they can hold onto the honors, the trade as a whole has certainly earned it each year. If you had to choose the most trusted profession would you choose nursing or would another job take the top honor?

Melissa is a Quality Assurance Nurse, professor, writer, and business owner. She enjoys empowering other nurses to find their passions and create a unique nursing career that fits their passions, desires, and gifts. She is owner of www.makingspace.company, a website dedicated to helping women find their creative passions through writing and co-owner of enursingresources.com, a start-up Nursing CE company that will offer online courses soon.

9 Followers; 108 Articles; 21,396 Visitors; 266 Posts

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TriciaJ has 37 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

10 Followers; 32,861 Visitors; 3,134 Posts

I think another factor in nursing being the most trusted profession is personal and professional accountability.  No matter what is happening around me, in my practice, the buck stops with me.

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Snatchedwig has 11 years experience as a CNA, LPN and specializes in Medsurg.

1 Follower; 630 Visitors; 111 Posts

Im truly shocked. I wouls have assumed we would have dropped a tier or two after all the bad light nurses been under the past few months. Proud that we still number 1.

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112 Visitors; 10 Posts

I am also shocked for in LTC it seems people are more prone to sue and threaten( families and patients combined)  must be for certain specialities  in nursing. Because I cant even trust the nurses I work with for a good report at my place. With short staffing and all the aides I cant even trust to do adequate work and then hear chronic complaints from my patients and family members.

Edited by lumbarpain56

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