What is it that makes nursing the most trusted profession? What are the characteristics of the nursing profession that causes Americans to cite them as the most honest and ethical?

Gallup polls measure how Americans perceive those who work in different professions in terms of ethical and honesty standards. For 17 years consecutively, it showed nurses were the most trusted profession in the United States. In the latest poll, nurses came in the very top with 84 percent of Americans rating the nursing profession as very high when it comes to ethical and honesty standards.

Apparently, this trend is not new, and Gallup says:

“With the exception of one year, 2001, when firefighters were on the list after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, nurses have far outpaced all other professions since they were added to the list two decades ago.”

What are the characteristics of the nursing profession that makes them so ethical and honest? Here are five of the top reasons why nurses are considered the most trusted professionals in the United States.


1. They Advocate on Behalf of Their Patients

Helpless. Unable to walk or talk. It’s so hard not being able to do for yourself. While varying degrees and abilities exist, still to be a patient is one of the most vulnerable states any person can be in. Nurses are a voice when a patient has none. They will advocate on your behalf and they’re the type of people that you want to have on your team.

Patient safety always comes first to a nurse. They are there to help patients make decisions that are informed. If you are the patient, they will connect you with the safety and resources you need to educate yourself and follow through with your course of treatment or care. Most nurses will also be the ultimate cheerleader in your corner, rooting you on to achieve the best possible outcomes.

2. They Comfort and Hold the Hands of Your Loved Ones

Twelve hours is a long time to spend at work. As such, nurses really get to know their patients. Many nurses will work with the same patient consecutively for several days and form attachments with them over the course of hospitalization.

When your loved one is a patient in the hospital, the nurses are the ones who are there with them more than anyone else. It’s not always possible, feasible, or healthy for a family member to remain with a patient 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Nurses will take their patient’s hand a while, as long as it’s needed for comfort, support, guidance, even up to the last breath. It’s important that family members and care providers take care of themselves as well in order to be healthy enough to care for their loved one who is the patient. Nurses encourage family members and other caregivers to go home and take a shower, sleep, and have a good meal.

3. They Care for the Sick and Dying

Nurses certainly make a deep impact on the outcome and experience when it comes to taking care of a very sick or even dying family member. Their compassion and actions can set the entire ambiance for how the death or care for a sick family member is perceived by the family and experienced by the patient.

As a travel nurse, the most profound experience I ever had is when I was at the bedside of a patient who peacefully passed away in front of her husband, daughter, granddaughter, and myself. I provided comfort and care for this patient and family by the smallest of gestures from delivering a cart of complementary foods and drinks and being an ear to listen to the largest gestures by providing pain control for their beloved family member who was thrashing and crying out before I had arrived.

It’s the only time I had patients return to the unit a few days later with gifts for me. They

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