Nurses remain the top most-trusted profession, says annual Gallup poll


Pharmacists' ranking, continuing a two-year decline, is now neck-and-neck with doctors

The “honesty and ethics” survey, performed annually by the Gallup polling organization, finds nurses retaining the top spot among all professions, with an 80% high-very high rating. Random Americans are asked the question, “Please tell me how you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields—very high, high, low or very low.” Nursing has had this top rating for all the past decade.

Two other healthcare professions—pharmacists and doctors—have top ratings as well, but while the former had had a clear advantage over the latter as recently as 2012, now the two seem to be neck-and-neck. Both have a high-very high rating of 65 this year, but pharmacists had a one-point advantage in 2013 over doctors, and a five-point advantage in 2012. (Gallup notes that nearly all professions mentioned in the polling have declined this year; nursing did as well, but by only two points.) It’s hard to say whether doctors are showing a relative gain, or pharmacists a relative decline, in this trend; Gallup notes that the accuracy of the poll is within four percentage points.

None of this seems to trouble the pharmacy trade associations: “Pharmacists … earn top-three placement for 12th straight year” was NACDS’ headline on the poll. “Congratulations to our country’s community pharmacists on this impressive achievement and the continuation of a long-running trend in trustworthiness,” said a statement from NCPA, the community pharmacists’ association.

Who patients trust most is of critical value to the pharma industry as it sorts through the changing US healthcare system, with prescribing decisions being more strongly influenced by economics, health-system and payer dynamics, and the rise of consumer-driven healthcare. Nurse educators, who train patients and doctor’s office staff on administering complex specialty pharmaceuticals are a notable trend.

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