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.