Nursing ranks as most ethical profession for 13th straight year, Gallup poll shows

For the 13th consecutive year, nurses have been named the most honest and ethical workers in the United States in a national poll, Gallup announced Friday.

Eighty percent of respondents said nurses have “very high” or “high” standards for ethics and honesty, compared with 65% both for medical doctors and pharmacists. The three medical professions topped the overall rankings, followed by police officers and clergy.

Between 2013 and 2014, all professions dropped or remained steady in terms of the percentage of respondents who said the workers display “very high” or “high” ethics and honesty. However, nurses have maintained their reputation better than the other top-ranked professions, Gallup noted. In 2013, 82% put nurses in the “very high” or “high” category, meaning they dropped by only 2 percentage points. Doctors decreased by 4 percentage points, pharmacists by 5 and police officers by 6.

The polling took place during the upheaval over policing in Ferguson, MO, and nonwhites in particular downgraded police this year, Gallup noted.

Car salespeople and members of Congress came in at the bottom. Only 8% said car salespeople and 7% said Congressional lawmakers are highly ethical and honest. These professions consistently have rated near the bottom since Gallup started doing this poll annually in 1990. However, Congress currently is at a much lower level than its highpoint in 2001, when 25% put federal lawmakers in the top category.

That year, when the poll took place after Sept. 11, also was the only time since 1990 that nurses have not ranked No. 1. Firefighters — a profession that is not included every year — took the top spot.

Gallup questioned about 800 adults from all 50 states for the poll. Click here for complete findings.