Nursing ranked as most honest profession

Christina Day Staff Writer

January 6, 2014

A newly released Gallup poll asking Americans to rate honesty and ethics of various professions finds nurses ranked at the top, while members of Congress and lobbyists were once again ranked as least honest.

The poll found that 82 percent of respondents rated the “honesty and ethical standards” of nurses to be “very high or high.”

Dr. Linda Johanson, the interim chairperson of the Department of Nursing at Appalachian State University, which was established in 2006, said she is honored to be a part of such an ethical profession.

“A nurse is trusted with personal information of clients, assists patients with ethical dilemmas, performs treatments and administers medications that affect the lives of others,” Johanson said, “I think that to be an excellent nurse one must be honest and ethical. It’s encouraging that others perceive it that way as well.”

Nurses have topped the Gallup poll of honest professions, conducted from a random sample of over 1000 adults in 50 states, almost every year since 1999.

Olivia Jenkins, who teaches nursing at Ashe County High School and is an instructor at A.S.U., said that nurses are called upon to be advocates for their patients.

“Any nurse will tell you that they will plead, defend, and support the patient in that patient’s best interest,” Jenkins said, “No other profession in healthcare has this quality as much as nursing.”

Jenkins was recently awarded one of the Great 100 Nurses of North Carolina Scholarships and said that she finds the profession “emotionally fulfilling” because of ways she is able to connect as a nurse with her patients.

“Nurses are at the bedside to not only care for the patient, but also for the family involved, nurses are there to hold the sick and dying’s hand,” Jenkins said, “Nurses get to know their patients on a personal and intimate level.”

Laura Lambeth, CEO of Ashe Memorial Hospital comes from a nursing background, having been a registered nurse since 1980.

“It speaks volumes for the confidence the public has in this profession, and I’m very honored and privileged to be in the nursing profession,” Lambeth said of the poll.

Lambeth said she feels her history as a nurse gives her a special set of skills applicable in managing a hospital.

“Working as a registered nurse at the bedside, I’ve seen all aspects of patient care in a hospital. It gives you a different perspective when you’re the CEO of a hospital, because you’ve taken care of patients and you understand what it means to actually provide bedside nursing,” Lambeth said.

Pharmacists and grade-school teachers also ranked high on the list of professions perceived to be honest and ethical, with each receiving 70 percent of respondents rating their level of honesty as “very high” or “high.”

Members of congress and political lobbyists held the distinction of being ranked lowest in perceived honesty, at eight percent and six percent respectively.