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Survey: Nurses Most Honest Professionals in U.S.

When it comes to honesty and ethics, nobody tops nurses, at least according to a 2014 Gallup telephone survey. Overall, 85 percent of the 805 American adults rated nurses as having high or very high honesty and ethical standards. Only 2 percent of survey respondents rated nurses as having low ethics and honesty. Doctors and pharmacists were rated next highest with 65 percent each, while advertisers, car salespeople and Congress members were rated the three least honest and ethical professions.

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The survey used a random group of people from all 50 states and Washington D.C. with equal numbers of people in each time zone or on cell or landline phones.

Nurses dominate honesty survey year after year
Although ranking a full 15 points better than the next closest profession, nurses actually slipped slightly from last year, when 87 percent of Gallup survey participants rated nurses as honest and ethical. They’ve been ranked number one in the annual survey since 1999, with the exception of 2001 when firefighters grabbed the top spot. In addition to 13 straight years at the top of the poll, nurses have received more than 80% very high or high ratings since 2005.

Gallup explained that the numbers from this year are somewhat surprising following the recent fears around Ebola. However, medical personnel have remained at the top of the list of most trustworthy professionals.

Nurse ethics
The American Nurses Association (ANA) publishes a list of the “Code of Ethics for Nurses” each year. The ANA describes the Code as a nonnegotiable set of values and ideals designed to protect nurses, fulfill their obligations, outline their ethical standards and express their “commitment to society.” The Code can only be amended or updated officially by the ANA and must be adhered to by all nurses or anyone who works with nurses.

This code is broken down into nine provisions. Each provision has a brief statement that the ANA breaks down more fully. For example, Provision 1 states, “The nurse practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth and unique attributes of every person.” This provision covers subjects such as treating patients with self-destructive behavior as well as attitudes toward colleagues.
The other eight provisions focus on topics such as delivering the patient optimal care and promoting safety, treating oneself the same way they would treat a patient, furthering science and medicine, working together as a team, and promoting health and ethical values generally.
Some hospitals, offices or other organizations may have additional codes of ethics.

Students pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing should be well aware of the ethical requirements of being a nurse. The Gallup poll shows that the American community looks up to nurses as ethical professionals. As an MSN candidate, students will not only be looked up to as an example of honesty and ethics by citizens, but also by other nurses who work beneath them. This underscores the importance of knowing the ethical codes of being a nurse.

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