Among America's Most Trusted Professions, Nurses are Number One … Again!

For the 14 th straight year, nurses remain number one among America's most trusted professions, according to a December 2013 Gallup poll. In addition to working in a field where you are trusted, the nursing profession opens a wide door into multiple career possibilities. Gaining people's trust in you as a professional begins with finding the right nursing school.

The Numbers Tell the Story

Gallup began the poll in 1976 on a periodic basis until 1990, when it sought the same information from Americans every year. In 1999, Gallup added the nursing profession to the poll, and except 2001 (after September 11, America saluted the nation's firefighters by ranking them number one), it has topped the list every year since. Just over 1,000 adults in 50 states were randomly polled in December 2013. Asked to rank professions from very bad, bad, good or very good, nurses received a good or very good score from 82% of respondents, a slight decrease from last year's 85%. Still, they rank well above the second-ranked pharmacy profession, at 70%. For comparison, lobbyists, members of Congress and car salesmen all ranked below ten percent.

Nurses Know Why

For nurses, it's no secret why they are so trusted. Responding to the report in a Nurse.com article, National Nurses United's Jean Ross, a registered nurse and co-president of the organization, described nurses as patient advocates, willing to stand by their side — even when it comes to confronting doctors and administrators. "For nurses, it is a sacred trust we will never abandon," Ross said in the article. When people have to open their bodies to nurses, their personal fears and anxieties are often revealed as well. While pursuing your nursing career, whether you're looking for LPN jobs or RN jobs, this holistic perspective will take on greater meaning.

How to Get Started

If you can, become a volunteer where nurses work. Skilled nursing facilities and hospitals usually welcome volunteers. Talk to them and get their opinions as to why nursing is number one among the most trusted professions. After that, it's time to find a nursing program that meets your needs. In your search for the right school, ask yourself a few questions:
  • Is the program flexible enough to balance your educational needs with your personal life? Nursing programs can be rigorous, and if your daily routine is already overwhelming, you may want to give some extra thought before committing.
  • Is the location suitable? Visit the city where the program is located and spend a few days there if you can. Visit the campus and picture yourself there anywhere from two to four years.
  • Is the program successful? During your visit to the campus, talk with the program faculty, students and even alumni. Find out where graduates are working.
  • Is the program affordable? Financial aid may be available, but programs can still be expensive. Expenses like books and supplies are examples of the less obvious costs.
After school comes certification exams, licensure and finding a job. These steps won't build trust; instead, it is through your work where you build and nurture trustworthiness. Every encounter you have with a patient will call upon your expertise and ethics. Remember that as a healer, comforter or advocate, 82% of Americans put their trust in you. Photo Source: Flickr [cf]skyword_tracking_tag[/cf]

Tags: allied-health, associate degree in nursing, Healthcare and Medical, LPN, nursing, patient care, Registered Nursing, Vocational & Practical Nursing

Charles R. Hooper, MSW

About Charles R. Hooper, MSW

With over 20 years experience as a medical social worker and a master's degree in social work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I have been honored to dedicate most of my professional life to service in health care. I have worked in multiple medical/nursing settings, including cardiology, orthopedics, neurology, trauma care and others. I also founded the medical social work program at a regional trauma center and a very busy emergency department. View all posts by Charles R. Hooper, MSW →