The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Nurses Top Gallup Poll Again Ranking #1 in Honesty and Ethics

"Our role as patient advocates is more critical than ever."


Nurses once again topped the Gallup Poll's annual ranking of how Americans view 22 major professions with 84% of the public rating their honesty and ethical standards as "high" or "very high." Nurses have ranked first for 15 consecutive years and every year except for one in the 18 years that Gallup has surveyed public opinion on what profession is most trusted.

"Patients, their families, and the public at large understand that when they are the most vulnerable, they can count on nurses," said Deborah Burger, RN Co-president of National Nurses United. "As nurses we are guided by the values of caring, compassion and community and we will go to any length to advocate for our patients and they know that."

"Our role as patient advocates is more critical than ever in a healthcare system where profit margins and executive wealth are put ahead of caring and public safety," said Burger. "Our patient advocacy role has led us to become very active in the public arena, especially in leading national efforts to guarantee healthcare for all, and challenge price gouging by pharmaceutical, insurance, and hospital corporations."

In November, after the elections, National Nurses United members rallied outside the nation's Capitol in support of Medicare and then visited the office of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to express opposition to Republican plans to dismantle Medicare.

"The November election results did not give anyone a mandate to dismantle one of the most popular public programs in U.S. history, Medicare. As nurses we are absolutely opposed to Rep. Paul Ryan's schemes to destroy it by converting it into a program that further enriches the insurance industry and denies care to seniors because they can't afford it," said Jean Ross, Co-president, National Nurses United.

"Medicare works and that's why we think it should be expanded so that everyone in our nation has access to quality care regardless of their ability to pay. Nurses will make our voices heard across the country in the face of the threat of privatization and profiteering off sickness which is at the heart of the Ryan proposal," Ross said.

NNU members have also played a vital role in winning landmark health and safety regulations that protect nurses and patients in areas such as infectious disease, nurse-to-patient staffing ratios and safe patient handling and lifting.

In October, the NNU-affiliated California Nurses Association (CNA) scored another important victory when the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) approved groundbreaking regulations to prevent workplace violence in healthcare settings.

In consideration of the national epidemic of workplace violence against registered nurses and healthcare workers, and the risk this poses to patients and the public, NNU recently petitioned the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to establish a workplace violence prevention standard replicating the California model.

NNU members have been active locally and nationally in campaigns to address the harms caused to health by pollution and the climate crisis, including the successful campaign against the Keystone XL Pipeline. Over the past few months, nurses with NNU's Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN) have volunteered at the Standing Rock Sioux encampment providing medical aid to the water protectors opposing construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, which threatens the water supply for millions of people.

National Nurses United, with close to 185,000 members in every state, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in US history.

(240) 235-2000