Nurses rank, by far, the top profession for honest and ethics in the U.S. in the 2016 version of the annual Gallup poll on ethics in professions, Americans Rate Healthcare Providers High on Honest, Ethics, published this week.
Since 1999, nurses have been #1 in this survey except for the year 2001, when firefighters scored the top spot in light of the 9/11 attack.
Another consistency in this survey among U.S. consumers is that pharmacists and physicians top the list once again, after nurses, and the most-trusted professions in America.
At the bottom of the roster, as in 2015, are Members of Congress. Both last year and this year, only 8% of U.S. adults vote for Congressfolk as having a high level of honesty and ethical standards. At the bottom with Congress are sales people for cars and insurance, and advertising people — the “Mad Men” of America.\
For this survey, Gallup interviewed a national sample of 1,028 U.S. adults in early December 2016 via phone.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: This survey reveals a bi-polar perspective among Americans when considering healthcare providers versus politicians. The vast majority of people in the U.S. feel so positively about nurses, doctors, and pharmacists….and so negatively about legislators and political people, with Congress at the bottom of the barrel, and Senators, Governors, and Lawyers also well under 20% of consumers finding them honest and ethical.
As President Trump begins to lead the country as a health reform president, potentially repealing the Affordable Care Act, healthcare providers can leverage the goodwill they have among the electorate crossing the political aisle. The Gallup survey illustrates a huge chasm between politicians and healthcare. Nurses in America have been strong political players in the past, especially as patient advocates. I expect and respect that they will continue to play this role in health reform developments in and beyond 2017. As for physicians, they appear split in their current public-political personae when it comes to the nomination of Dr. Tom Price to be Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, discussed here in a Merritt Hawkins survey. Pharmacists are strongly advocating patient access to prescription drugs, for Medicare and Medicaid programs to continue and be funded, and for services to expand in community pharmacies.
This is what we know we know at this moment of health politics: that our providers are trusted, and that our politicians are not. Whether U.S. health consumers will take on the mantle of being health citizens, allying with their beloved honest and ethical health providers in the political process of healthcare reform? That is a wild card in the forecast.