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Nursing Ranked as the Most Trusted Profession for 22nd Year in a Row

For an impressive 22nd year, nursing was rated as the most trusted profession once again in 2023, according to a Gallup poll. Despite its #1 ranking, only 78% of U.S. adults now believe nurses have “very high” or “high” honesty and ethical standards. This is 11 percentage points lower than the highest rating for nurses during 2020 and the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It appears that American people are more cautious about who they are handing out their trustworthy badges to, so that makes the fact that nursing nabbed the #1 spot yet again—for the 22nd year in a row!—all the more impressive.

The Gallup Honesty and Ethics poll originated back in 1976 and has been conducted every year since 1990. If you’re doing the math that means that–yup–nurses have ranked as #1 almost the entire time. (The only year they were displaced was after 2001, when firefighters claimed the top spot, understandably.) Only a small percentage of professions have been on the list every year. 

2023’s poll was conducted between Dec. 1-20, 2023, and asked Americans to rank 23 professions. The results placed nurses above medical doctors as the most trusted profession. 78% of Americans ranked nurses as trustworthy based on the Gallup poll scale of “very high, high, average, low or very low.” 

Nurses secured the top spot, with a 13-point lead over veterinarians, who landed in second place with only a 65% approval rating. Medical doctors, previously in second place in 2022, dropped to fifth place, trailing nurses by a significant 22 points, with only 56% of Americans considering them the most trustworthy. Among the top 5 professions, all were in the medical field except for engineers.

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Source: Gallup

Here’s the full breakdown of how the top 5 professions ranked by trustworthiness: 

  • Nursing: 78% 

  • Veterinarians: 65% 

  • Engineers: 60%

  • Dentists: 59%

  • Medical Doctors: 56%

Overall, the numbers for the top five are extremely low compared to previous years. Interestingly, every profession dropped significant percentage points in the current Gallup poll. 

The bottom-dwellers of the Gallup poll included the following five professionals, 

  •  Stockbrokers: 12%
  • Advertising Practitioners: 8%
  • Car Salespeople: 8%
  • Senators: 8%
  • Members of Congress: 6%

While the Gallup poll results represent an impressive achievement for the nursing profession as a whole, it also represents a significant decrease in the perception of the healthcare profession as a whole, with both medical doctors and nurses seeing a rather larger drop in numbers from last year. 

Looking ahead to 2024, trends suggest the nursing field will continue to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of registered nurses will rise 6% from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations. This increased demand is expected to drive opportunities for career advancement and higher pay.

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