In this new Gallup poll, nurses are seen as more honest and trustworthy than 21 other American professions, including doctors and members of Congress. In fact, 82% of respondents rated nurses as very high or high in terms of trustworthiness, while physicians received only 65%. Meanwhile, members of Congress are seen as trustworthy and honest by 11%, just 1% more than individuals who sell used cars. Go figure. Even judges clocked in at 43%, with clergy at 42%. So as you can see, nurses sail above the rest, with even military officers trailing at #2 with 71%.
The Meaning of Gallup
From my perspective, the Gallup results mean that, even though the public doesn't always understand what nurses really do and who we truly are, they see us as professionals who bring a level of trust to the table that other professions just don't seem able to perceptibly deliver. to the same extent.
I by no means wish to canonize nurses as perfect human beings, yet we must own the fact that we are viewed by the public with a considerable amount of admiration.
With nurses remaining a highly respected group of professionals, this means we can collectively use our voices to be an increasingly important voice amidst the national (and international) conversation about healthcare. We can also chime in on other aspects of society and culture, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, human trafficking, child welfare, elder abuse, and any other salient contemporary issues that are being discussed in the media, the halls of Congress, or elsewhere.
So what does this all mean for you and your nursing career, and how can translate it into a personal benefit that will move your career forward and reach the larger world in a wholly positive way?
Pursue Your Goals / Amplify Your Voice
As a nurse with that RN after your name (and all of the other crazy alphabet soup of credentials that our profession loves), you can choose to leverage that intrinsic public trust in order to accomplish a variety of goals during the course of your career. Here are a few ideas:
- Become a commentator on health-related issues on your local radio station
- Be a trusted voice to whom local, regional, national, or international media outlets turn for opinion and analysis
- Write a regular column for your local or regional newspaper
- Leverage your "nurseness" in terms of starting a business that capitalizes on your nursing credentials and trust those credentials engender
- Use your power as a nurse to influence your state or national legislators on important issues
- Reach out to other healthcare colleagues to form mastermind groups and support networks
- Launch a blog or podcast as a platform for sharing your opinions or disseminating health information on which you are an expert
- Join the board of directors of a non-profit or nursing association
- Partner with local faith leaders for community service projects for the public good
There is no end to how you can positively take advantage of the strength and instant recognition provided by your nursing credentials.
A Force to be Reckoned With
Nurses are a force to be reckoned with on many levels. We are skilled clinicians, researchers, and educators. We also are the holders of vast knowledge and expertise. And in the 21st century, the breadth and depth of who nurses are and what they can do is expanding.
You yourself can be a force to be reckoned with. Decide how to leverage your voice and your nursing credentials. Choose a path that speaks to you and feels aligned with your personal mission and values.
Nursing is a influential profession and nurses are powerful movers and shakers. Feel that power inside of you and choose how to make it come to life in your own career and professional journey. As A nurse, you are more valuable than you can ever know.
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind NurseKeith.com and the well-known nursing blog, Digital Doorway. Please visit his online platforms and reach out for his support when you need it most.
Keith is co-host of RNFMRadio.com, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses.
A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century and Aspire to be Inspired: Creating a Nursing Career That Matters. He has contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession. Keith has written for Nurse.com, Nurse.org, MultiBriefs News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline, StaffGarden, AusMed, American Sentinel University, the ANA blog, NursingCE.com, American Nurse Today, Working Nurse Magazine, and other online and print publications.
Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, keynote speaker, online nurse personality and social media influencer, podcaster, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known nurse entrepreneur. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives, and his adorable and intelligent cat, George.