Doctors: Trusted by 2 out of 3

January 20, 2016
Greg Kelly

New research confirms that in an age when trust in institutions is disconcertingly low, trust in physicians remains high.

“The ability to establish, grow, extend, and restore trust is the key professional and personal competency of our time.”

— Stephen Covey

Hey doctor, might it help to know that two out of three patients you treat think you are honest and ethical? That’s the gist of the latest Gallup Poll on Honesty and Ethics.

I don’t think my physician-dad cared much if his patients liked him, but it was important that they trusted him. And even for busy doctors trust must be won. For 50 years dad build that doctor-patient bond of trust. And I see it even today, nearly a decade after death—the way the families and people he cared for still talk about him with respect. There was total confidence in his abilities as a healer.

When Americans were recently asked to rate the honesty and ethics of 20 professions, 68% gave medical doctors “very high/high” marks. In fact, healthcare professionals generally won the tops honors for professional honesty and ethics.

For the 14th year in a row, the public voted nurses as the most ethical and trusted profession in the country. Pharmacists finished a rather distant second at 68%; MDs were in the third spot at 67%. “With an 85% honesty and ethics rating—tying their high point—nurses have no serious competition atop the ranking this year,” according to Gallup.

Only 1% of those polled said nurses had “low/very low” ethics and honesty; 5% gave that rating to MDs and pharmacists.

Their professional groups claim that nurses earned the best results because they’re the ones you call if you really need something done and pharmacists did well become the more you deal with them the more you like what they do.

Sad but true, near the bottom of the trustworthy list were Members of Congress—just 8% of Americans think their national leaders in Washington, DC are honest/ethical.

Based on phone interviews with about 825 Americans representing every state, here are the honesty/ethics ratings for various professions:

Teachers

60%

Police Officers

56%

Clergy

45%

Funeral Directors

44%

Accountants

39%

Journalists

27%

Bankers

25%

Building Contractors

25%

Lawyers

21%

Realtors

20%

Union Leaders

18%

Business Executives

17%

Stockbrokers

13%

Advertising Person

10%

Auto Salesperson

8%

Members of Congress

8%

Telemarketers

8%

Lobbyists

7%