Americans Rank Physicians No. 2 in Honesty and Ethics, Again
By Steve Levine

Health care professions hold down the three top spots in the Gallup Poll’s 2018 annual ranking for honesty and ethical standards. Nursing came in first — for the 17th consecutive year — followed by physicians and pharmacists. 

“With the exception of one year, 2001, when firefighters were on the list after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, nurses have far outpaced all other professions since they were added to the list two decades ago,” Gallup reports. “Before 1999, pharmacists and clergy members were frequently the most-highly rated professions for their ethics.”

In interviews with a random sample of 1,025 American adults conducted earlier this month, Gallup asked, “Please tell me how you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields — very high, high, average, low, or very low?”

For physicians (whom Gallup calls “medical doctors”), respondents said:   

  • Very high: 15 percent
  • High: 52 percent
  • Average: 25 percent
  • Low: 6 percent
  • Very low: 2 percent
  • No opinion: 1 percent   
  • Since 2002, physicians’ combined “very high” and “high” ratings have moved between a tight range of 63 percent to 70 percent, usually tied with or slightly behind pharmacists. This year’s 67-percent “very high” and “high” rating for physicians significantly outpaced other professionals such as accountants (42 percent), bankers (27 percent), real estate agents (25 percent), lawyers (19 percent), and business executives (17 percent).

    As usual, members of Congress (8 percent), car salespeople (8 percent), and telemarketers (9 percent) occupied the bottom of the list.

    Read more about the survey methodology on the Gallup website.

    Last Updated On

    December 21, 2018

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    Steve Levine

    VP, Communication

    (512) 370-1380
    Steve Levine

    A former statehouse reporter, political press secretary, and state agency spokesman, Steve Levine has directed the Communication Division at TMA since 1997. He oversees Texas Medicine, Texas Medicine Today, TMA's media and public relations activities, and the TMA Knowledge Center, website, and social media activities.

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