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Arkansas State University

Nurses Still Rank at the Top of Ethics Polls

The nursing profession has a strong reputation for honesty, integrity and ethics. The 2021 Gallup poll asked Americans to rank various professions based on their honesty and ethics. For the 20th straight year, nurses topped other professions for having high honesty and ethics, eclipsing medical doctors in second place by 14 points — 81% vs. 67%. The American public trusts nurses with their and their loved ones’ lives and looks up to them as an example of professionalism. For nurses, this represents an opportunity to lead in healthcare and become more influential as they advocate for patients and for the nursing profession. Nursing’s reputation can help healthcare as a whole as well.

Nurses may also have the power to change reimbursement rates and patient satisfaction scores by providing compassionate, thorough nursing care. With the substantial level of trust nurses earn every day, there are plenty of areas where you can make a positive impact. Your patients, your colleagues and the healthcare industry need you.

Nursing’s Reputation and Healthcare

The American healthcare system is rapidly changing and experiencing many serious challenges, including a lack of health equity and uneven access to care. Nurses interact with patients on a regular basis and are a strong public face of healthcare. They look after patients who are experiencing difficult health challenges and diagnoses. Nurses work with the public during crises. Nurses witness and offer help during some of the most intimate and stressful moments in patients’ lives. As highly educated healthcare professionals, nurses are prepared, informed and motivated. The public sees their dedication and recognizes the contributions nurses make every day to healthcare.

With such a positive image, nurses can play a unique role in shaping the future of healthcare services and improving equity and access. Patients need advocates, and nurses who are ready to become healthcare leaders may have a stronger voice and find a greater level of influence. As you see opportunities for improvements and changes in your role as a nurse, you can leverage public trust as you seek positive change.

Your Role in Nursing Ethics

Nurses in direct patient care can impact patients’ view of their workplace and opinion of the nursing profession. As such, you should not take your impact on patients lightly. They are looking to you for help, and many patients value your opinions and expertise. Patients watch how you provide care and listen to what you say. While you make a substantial difference in their lives, their experience while under you care can impact their perceptions.

The positive impact you make on your patients can affect patient satisfaction scores, which may directly affect reimbursement rates. Public and private health insurers may link their reimbursements to the level of patient satisfaction. Nurses provide much of the direct care patients receive in hospitals, long-term care facilities and other healthcare institutions. At hospitals, the proportion of cost reimbursements determined by patient satisfaction scores from insurers such as Medicare can be significant.

Higher reimbursement rates for a healthcare facility may mean more resources are available for better patient care and salaries for facility employees. Healthcare organizations often depend heavily on these reimbursements for much-needed operating revenues. Your work, in other words, may directly affect your organization’s ability to continue seeing patients. As you help patients, be sure to keep in mind just how valuable high-quality nursing care is to the people you assist.

Nurses consistently top the ethics rankings in Gallup’s yearly poll, demonstrating the American public’s confidence in the nursing profession’s honesty, ethics and integrity. Nurses can and should use this positive image to push for the best patient care. As patient advocates, nurses can use their reputation for the good of others. The work nurses do can have a direct impact on patient satisfaction ratings and can therefore change reimbursement rates for care services. Many patients look to nurses for care, support and health advice. Your expertise as a nurse matters and can have an impact on others.

Learn more about the Arkansas State online RN to BSN program.

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