How's this for a change? Poll says they like you

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James M. Berklan
James M. Berklan

Lost in the year-end shuffle was nursing home operators' most optimistic story of 2013: The public has an all-time high opinion of you.

There it was, in Gallup black and white. The percentage of poll subjects rating nursing home operators' honesty and ethics standards as “very high” or “high” jumped to 32%.

SNF operators rose by a greater margin (6 percentage points) since its last measured total (which was 26% in 2010) than any other job. 

True, readers, you still have some ground to make up on your overall rating, but you've come a long way.

You now rate just over the mid-line — sitting right after day-care providers (46%) and judges (45%) and just ahead of auto mechanics (29%), bankers (27%) and local office holders (23%). You're clearly not considered at the bottom of the barrel, where members of Congress (8%) and lobbyists (6%) wallow. 

More respondents considered you “very high” (8%) than “very low” (5%), and more voted “high” (24%) than “low” (17%). A solid 42% said “average,” while 4% had no opinion.

This says to me that the profession's efforts to improve its image are working. The public values responsiveness. Somebody's doing something right.

“Nurses, pharmacists and doctors — considered to be in the ‘healing' occupations — rank the highest,” Gallup notes.

The public seems to be warming to the idea that nursing homes are part of the “healing” cycle. More and more, they are known as places where people recover from knee or hip surgery before returning home. That is, the evolution of nursing facility services also has created optimism.

I also believe baby boomers must be collecting more favorable impressions — because of their own experiences or their parents' experiences, or both.  

Views about a profession change in response to scandal uncovered within it, Gallup reminds us. Memories of scandals that rocked the nursing home industry in the 1970s and beyond, and troubles in ensuing decades such as massive bankruptcy filings, are fading. Headlines tell us there are still too many bad apples out there. But the public is seeing the good more often.

It is prime time to keep the pressure on doing whatever it takes to continue improving. 

But it is also a great time to raise a glass in praise of progress.


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