Ratings of honesty and ethics in professions have fallen down in the U.S., we find the Gallup Poll’s annual assessment of rankings for occupations that touch peoples’ lives in America.
Each year for over a decade, nurses have ranked highest in this survey, representing the most-trusted profession working in America.
However, even nurses’ ethic-equity has dropped in the hearts and minds of Americans over the past four years, falling 7 percentage points from a high of 85% of citizens ranking nurses at the greatest level of honesty and ethics to a low of 78% rating nurses at the apex of trust.
What’s also different this year is that doctors and pharmacists have generally ranked in second and third place in this study; however, in 2024 veterinarians and engineers rate #2 and #3.
For the first time, dentists edge out medical doctors as most honest and ethical in fourth position, with doctors in fifth and pharmacists in sixth place close to physicians.
Medical doctors’ ranking fell by the greatest percentage points, nine, along with pharmacists, police officers, bankers, and journalists.
The second chart pulls out five professions in the U.S. where consumers’ views on ethics and honest have fallen to record lows: these are for pharmacists, clergy, journalists, U.S. Senators, and Members of Congress.
The U.S. politicians rank at the bottom of the Gallup Poll on honesty and ethics, with Senators scoring 8% of Americans’ trust and Congress-people 6%.
Just above Senators and Congress-folk are car salespeople, advertising practitioners, stockbrokers and insurance salespeople.
The only profession gaining in ethics/honesty equity between 2019 and 2023 was among labor union leaders — up 1 percentage point over the 4 years.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: As of today in the U.S., the country is 287 days from the 2024 Presidential Election which will be held on 5th November.
I’ve included this third chart from the Gallup survey, which was fielded in December 2023, to give you a sense of some partisan differences in voters’ views on honesty and ethics in U.S. professions.
Take college teachers: most Democrats highly rate college prof’s with high ethics, with only 1 in 5 Republicans feeling that way. Psychiatrists, too, have greater ethics/honesty equity among Democrats.
Overall, it appears that Democrats generally perceive greater honest and ethical conduct among U.S. occupations than Republicans do — except for police officers, where Republicans tend to have more positive perceptions on honesty and ethics for police compared with Democrats’ views.
Regarding the health professions, we must factor in the politicization of health care and medical science since before the COVID pandemic, and accelerated through the pandemic. Now the reputation of nurses, long-highest valued professionals for honesty and ethics, succumb as a profession to the public’s anger about the health system and science “fact.”
This chasm of trust between patients, health citizens and caregivers vis-a-vis health/care providers is a signal of an unsustainable system for health care in America. All stakeholders across the ecosystem must work together to bolster front-line clinicians — nurses, physicians, and pharmacists — to support the well-being of providers in 2024. Health care is on the ballot in November, in both explicit and implicit ways.