Most Americans Respect Doctors

Physician's Money Digest, October15 2004, Volume 11, Issue 19

Today's Americans have morerespect for physicians than forany other professional occupation.While hardly bankable, the newsmight provide some comfort to doctorsduring troubling health care times.After all, the foundation of any satisfyingdoctor-patient relationship beginsand ends with trust.

A recent Gallup Poll of 1,000+ US citizensshowed medical doctors winninga vote of "very great prestige" from52% of those surveyed. When you addthe "very great prestige" and "considerableprestige" categories together,doctors won high marks from nearly85% of those surveyed. Only 1% saidphysicians had "hardly any prestige atall." Americans rated 22 occupations inthe September 2004 nationwide survey.

Tying doctors in the top "very greatprestige" occupation ranking were scientists,followed by firefighters (48%),teachers (48%), and military officers(47%). The five lowest-rated occupationswere real estate brokers (5%),stockbrokers (10%), accountants (10%),journalists (14%), and bankers (15%).

Several professions have gained orlost considerable prestige since Gallupfirst started doing the poll in 1977.Teachers have made the biggest gains,up to 48% from 29% in 1977. Militaryofficers also enjoyed a boost over thepast quarter century, nearly doublingtheir "very great prestige."

The occupation with the biggestdecline in the "very great prestige"ranking was for lawyers, whose scorefell by half from 36% in 1977 to 17%today. Surprisingly, scientists also realizeda sharp decline in the "very greatprestige" rating—falling about 15%from 1977 levels. Doctors themselvesare also down nearly 10% since thepoll originated.