Back in the day, Ray Parker Jr. had everybody’s melodic answer to the question, “Who you gonna call?!” We’re talking the chart-busting theme song to the 1984 movie “Ghostbusters.”
As Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis would over-dramatically stage — and win — showdowns with form-shifting monsters and various demonic creatures, the thumping tune would assure us the good guys were ultimately going to win and protect us.
So what’s the equivalent anthem for America’s current heroes? Those proud pillars, of course, would be nurses, incidentally.
If anyone deserves their own triumphant chorus, it’s clearly the professional caretakers with RN, CNA, LPN or similar other letters after her or his name.
America thinks so, too. For the 18th straight year, nurses were found to be the most highly respected professionals in the Gallup organization’s Honesty and Ethics poll. Currently, 85% rate nurses as “very high” or “high” when it comes to these characteristics.
THAT’s who we’re going to trust, in other words. The last time nurses didn’t command the top spot, incidentally, was right after 9/11, when firefighters temporarily nudged them out.
Gallup rotates certain professions in and out of this poll regularly, but nurses are there each year. This time they’re nearly 20 points ahead of the nearest group when it comes to esteem. Engineers (66%) were second, followed by other medical types: doctors (65%), pharmacists (64%) and dentists (61%).
But nurses are clearly the top of the heap. My next question is: What are you going to do about it — or more importantly, do with it? This is a legitimate question for a couple of reasons.
First, this is a gold mine of good public relations material. Not every job class can go to this deep of a well. (Just ask the Gallup poll’s bottom dwellers: car sellers [9%], members of Congress [12%] and insurance peddlers [13%].)
Second, healthcare providers — certainly long-term care among them — can always use some good news to elevate workplace mood and fend off possible critics. If I were a nurse or someone who employed them, I’d remind people of these poll results at every opportunity.
You’ve earned America’s trust, so there’s no crime in jogging people’s memories whenever you need to — and even before you need to.
Of course, in the year ahead, the Gallup list could see some interesting dips and swerves. Back in 2016, another presidential election year, bankers (24%), lawyers (18) and, yes, even journalists (23%) experienced their lowest ratings during the last quadrennial. I’m betting we have plenty of dips ahead with the promise of more ugly campaign days on the near horizon.
But not for nurses. Rock-solid at 84% back in 2016, they remain our steady influences. Our go-to people on the floor and in the treatment areas.
Given the nature of your workplace of choice, isn’t it time to remind residents, patients, families and others around you — even yourselves — just what your legacy is? Although the sky-high results are partly due to the nature of the work (healing and nurturing and all), it’s clear you’re doing something very right.
So who you gonna call?
Follow Executive Editor James M. Berklan @JimBerklan.