How Honest Are Physicians?
Gallup conducted a poll on Americans’ views of 22 professions on the perceived honesty and ethical standards of these professions. Survey respondents rated each profession on a 5-point honesty and ethical scale ranging from “very high” to “very low”. The results ranged from 85% who rated nurses’ ethics and honesty as very high or high to a low of 8% rating car salespeople the same.
Of the 22 professions polled, 6 were on medical professional categories. According to Gallup, Nurses have generally scored at the top of all professions since they were first polled in 1999. The only year nurses were not on the top was in 2001 when Gallup asked about “firefighters” on a one-time basis after the September 11 terrorist attacks. In this year’s results, Nurses received a 10-percentage-point higher rating than pharmacists, who in turn are 5 points above medical doctors. According to Gallup, the honesty ratings of all of these medical professions are at the highest levels in its polling history, although by slim margins. Doctors’ 70% honesty rating this year is the same as last year’s, but up from as low as 47% in the mid-1990s. Remember the beginning of the HMO era? Nurses are now up 1point from their previous high, and pharmacists are 2 points higher than their previous record. Pharmacists routinely top the list before Gallup began including nurses. Dentists were rated at 62%, slightly lower than doctors, pharmacists, or nurses.
Psychiatrists (41%) and chiropractors (38%) have lower ratings still, although both are above the median rating for the 22 professions tested and are at their highest levels in Gallup history.
Other professions with high honesty ratings include police officers, college teachers, and the clergy. On the other hand, far less than half of Americans are positive about the honesty of journalists, lawyers, insurance salespeople, HMO managers, stockbrokers, and advertising practitioners–all of which have honesty ratings below 25%.
Car salespeople have been at the bottom of the list every year except 2011, when they tied members of Congress with a 7% honesty rating. Car salespeople’s perceived honesty has never climbed out of the single-digit range in the history of the list. One take away from this poll is that reputation is a priceless quality to have in business.
People do business with those who they feel comfortable with. So, it is important how people perceive you as a profession or business. Overall, Gallup’s data is good news for members of the medical profession. The results continue to be bad news for politicians, who remain in the bottom half of the list, particularly members of Congress who, this year, are better than only car salespeople.
Although, the ratings measure Americans’ perceptions of the honesty and ethical standards of various professions, it also stands for an overall, broad assessment of the image of each profession tested.
Note: Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 26-29, 2012, with a random sample of 1,015 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. States and the District of Columbia.