Nurses again rated tops, but you'd hardly know it

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James M. Berklan, Editor
James M. Berklan, Editor
Sometimes long-term care nurses feel like step-sisters to their acute-care counterparts. Face it: Hospital nurses usually get the glory.

If you challenge that statement, quick, name me the last television show or cinema film that featured a nursing home nurse.

The point of this isn't to further any step-sister images, however. On the contrary. It's to illustrate that nurses are all still part of the same family. And that goes for nurse aides, in many ways.

Last month, Gallup announced that nurses once again ranked first among all professions offered in its annual survey of honesty and ethics in the workplace. First. Ahead of pharmacists (73%) and doctors (70%), as well as those next in line: high school teachers (62%), police officers (54%) and clergy (52%).

Not only that, but nurses have ranked No. 1 every time Gallup has conducted its ethics survey except for 2011, when firefighters ranked first after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The poll gathered the opinions of 1,012 randomly picked adults, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The scorecard: 84% said “very high” or “high” when asked to rate the honesty and ethical standards of nurses; 15% said “average” and just 1% said “low” or “very low.”

“The public's continued trust in nurses is well-placed, and reflects an appreciation for the many ways nurses provide expert care and advocacy,” is how American Nurses Association President Karen A. Daley put it.

Granted, Daley has a biased opinion and many reasons for stating it. But so should you. And that's the point.

The survey tells us that nurses already hold the power of family respect. They just have to harvest that and use it to their best advantage. By no means does that mean anything sinister or treacherous.

Take pride in your standing, and let people know it's a well-earned reputation. It can assist you in getting greater cooperation and compliance from residents and family members. (Remember: They're on your side already, even if its deep in their subconscious.)

It also can help your own self-esteem, and in turn, your job performance and career progression.

What you're going to get back will depend almost entirely on what you project to the people you work with and serve every day.