Nursing remains the most trusted profession outranking doctors, judges and the police, according to the latest survey of public confidence in key professionals.
The annual survey by Ipsos MORI found 94% of people would generally trust nurses to tell the truth – slightly up on 93% last year. Nurses rank just above doctors in the trust stakes, with 91% of those who took part in the face-to-face research trusting a doctor to be truthful.
Both also outrank teachers at 87%, scientists at 83%, judges at 81%, and the police at 74%, according to the survey of nearly 1,000 British people aged 15 and over, carried out in October this year.
“Doctors, nurses and teachers have consistently been near the top”
Over the last two years, nursing and the medical profession have ranked consistently close to the top in the so-called Veracity Index, which is weighted to match the make-up of the general population – though 2016 was the first time that nurses were included.
The 2017 index shows variations for different professions based on the education levels of those surveyed, with graduates more likely to trust “experts” like judges, civil servants and scientists. However, nursing is one profession that is trusted by people in general – no matter what their level of education.
At the other end of the scale, the survey showed politicians and journalists continue to be among the least trusted professions. It found just 17% of the public had faith in politicians, in general, to tell the truth, while just 19% trusted government ministers.
Meanwhile, trade union officials and civil servants were among those professions that have become more trusted over the years. The index shows 45% of people trust trade union representatives, while 59% trust civil servants.
“This is a proud and well-deserved achievement for our profession”
However, trust in priests and the clergy has continued to plummet. They were the most trusted profession in 1983 but this year just 65% said they trusted them to tell the truth – the lowest recorded level of trust for this professional group.
While trust levels fluctuated for some groups, Gideon Skinner, head of political polling at Ipsos MORI, highlighted that trust in nursing remained high.
“Ipsos MORI has been tracking trust in professions for over 30 years, and over that time there have been some notable movers,” said Mr Skinner. “But not everything changes – doctors, nurses and teachers have consistently been near the top, and politicians and journalists down the bottom.”
Commenting on the survey, Royal College of Nursing general secretary and chief executive Janet Davies said the top ranking for nurses was “well-deserved” and urged the government to take note.
“This is a proud and well-deserved achievement for our profession,” she said. “But it is time the political establishment caught up with the rest of the public and realised just how trusted and valued nursing staff are.
“Any supportive statements today must be matched with meaningful investment tomorrow,” she said. “Government must expand training plans and improve nurses’ work and personal lives – warm words won’t pay the bills nor fix the shortages and allow for the highest care standards.
“The public is on the side of nurses, as they know nurses are on theirs – ministers would do well to remember that in the months to come,” added Ms Davies.
Nurses still outrank doctors as ‘most trusted profession’
Source: Ipsos MORI