Editorial Susan L. Bindon, DNP, RN-BC, CNE
Trust Me, I’m a Nurse
n 2014, for the 13th consecutive year, nurses topped the list in Gallup’s (2014) annual U.S. survey of Honesty and Ethical Standards in Professions. Each year, since their appearance on the list of professions, nurses have been number one, with the exception of 2001 when firefighters held the top spot in the aftermath of 9/11. The 2014 survey results show that 80% of respondents (composed of a random sample of 805 adults) rated nurses as ‘‘very high’’ or ‘‘high’’ in honesty and ethics, a solid 15% higher than the next highest-rated profession. Also of note, only 2% of those polled rated nurses as having ‘‘low’’ or ‘‘very low’’ standards in these areas (ANA, 2014). This is good news, and something about which we can all be proud! At the same time, even at this 80% favorable rating, nursing is down 2 percentage points from its 2013 ranking on the same survey, and according to the poll, 19% of respondents view nurses as ‘‘average’’ in the areas of honesty and ethics. Maintaining the public’s perception of the trustworthiness of nursing is imperative. We are challenged to hold our ground and keep striving for improvement, even if only by one person or percentage point each year. Steven Covey, noted author and educator, called trust the ‘‘glue of life’’ and the ‘‘most essential ingredient in effective communication’’ (Covey, 2006). He felt that trust is the foundation for all successful relationships. Gaining the trust of others does not happen automatically; it takes effort and usually happens over time. Nurses are involved in people’s lives in an immediate and intimate way, often in stressful and complicated situations. Patients, colleagues, employees, and students trust us to do the right thing and do it to the best of our ability. They expect us to be honest and to act professionally. Others trust us to give good advice and to guide them in making difficult decisions. We are entrusted with people’s thoughts, feelings, fears, and triumphs, even their hopes and dreams. This is a real privilege and not something to be taken for granted.
An article in this issue of JNPD (Krautscheid, 2015) discusses how new nurses trust and sometimes defer to more experienced nurses, even when unsure that what they are doing is ‘‘right.’’ This piece provides a timely reminder that the trust others have in nurses has been hard won by our predecessors and must be upheld by usVone patient, one conversation, one telephone call, one email, one tweet at a time. In the midst of a year in which the Affordable Care Act, ongoing violence, the Ebola crisis, and global strife have at times taken center stage, it is good to note that nursing is weathering the storm of public opinion, at least via this one popular survey. Let’s celebrate our repeated recognition as the nation’s most trusted profession. Let’s also create opportunities to use our position and connect with colleagues to work, teach, and learn interprofessionally. Nursing professional development as a specialty can leverage the trust that exists for nursing and extend it even further. To do so, we need to trust ourselves and each other enough to continuously question practices; share our successes and missteps; and use the best available evidence to improve the quality, efficiency, and safety of patient care.
References Covey, S. M. (2006). The speed of trust: The one thing that changes everything. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Gallup. (2014). Americans rate nurses highest on honesty, ethical standards. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poll/180260/ americans-rate-nurses-highest-honesty-ethical-standards.aspx Krautscheid, L. C. (2015). Development and reliability testing of a survey: Measuring trusting and deference behaviors in microethical nursing practice. Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, 31, 2. Nursing World, American Nurses Association. (2014). Public ranks nurse as most honest, ethical profession for 13th straight year. Retrieved from http://www.nursingworld.org/FunctionalMenuCategories/ MediaResources/PressReleases/2014-PR/default.aspx
The author has disclosed that she has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.
Journal for Nurses in Professional Development
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