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Why nursing really is the most trusted career on the planet

Posted about 1 year ago

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​Nurses have seen it all. They have witnessed your deeply embarrassing moments without judgment, they have listened and acted with poise during your crisis, they have helped you understand confusing medical language and they have bought comfort, laughter and hope when you thought all was lost. Can you think of another profession you would trust with these delicate, intimate details? There aren't many. Let’s explore why nursing really is the most trusted career on the planet.

Research talks: Nurses are the most trusted profession

According to the 2019 Australia Talks National Survey by the ABC of more than 54,000 Australians, “celebrities are trusted by just 8% of Australians. Doctors and nurses, on the other hand, top the list, trusted by 97% of us”.

A similar trend can be seen in the United States. According to Gallup’s 2018 poll assessing ethics and honesty, nurses were again ranked the most-trusted profession for the 20th year.

But why is this? Let’s explore these statistics and find out why.

Your secrets are safe with a nurse

Nurses are bound by confidentiality. They are not allowed to take photos or post on social media the funny, frightening, horrific, embarrassing or funny aspects of patient care. They are not allowed to use patient’s names when describing a story to their friends out of work. No private information can be shared over the phone, even when a family member or friend calls for it.

If you tell or show a nurse something relevant to their care, they are entitled to document it in their notes and tell a more senior nurse when appropriate, but the story stops there. These words are never published and your situation will never be heard or repeated in social circles.

The public knows that when they confide in a nurse, the information is safe and this is a very powerful, privileged position to be in.

Nurses will give you real advice, even when you don’t want to hear it

Other professions, try lawyers or real estate agents, can sometimes give advice where they benefit. There is something in it for them. Nurses, on the other hand, will probably never see you again and quite honestly don’t want to. They simply want you to live a healthy, happy life free (if possible) from disease. That’s what makes them happy. There is no direct personal or financial gain behind their advice giving, putting nurses in a powerful, trusted position.

If you ask a nurse for guidance or advice during times of uncertainty and fear, a nurse will give you both evidenced-based advice, in conjunction with reaching into their bag of tricks to tell you what has worked for others in the past from their personal experience. They help patients make informed decisions about their continued healthcare. They want to work with you, commonly called patient-centered care, so you can live your best life - outside the medical system.

Nurses are notoriously reliable - 24/7

Who is there to help you use the bathroom at 3.30am after your back operation? Who assisted you with cleaning your dentures when the arthritis is stopping you from completing the job yourself? Who is there to help when you’ve suddenly lost a loved one and feel totally hopeless and alone? Nurses.

If you call the bell, at any time day or night, you will be greeted by a nurse full of compassion, empathy and patience. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on Christmas Day, to give you the care you deserve. Besides doctors, there limited professions operating these sorts of hours.

For nurses, it’s not about the money

Do you think the public trusts nurses more than other professions because they know there is no financial gain? If you ask for help or advice from a nurse, even to do something a little left of center, you won’t be charged any extra money. There is no financial risk to you. However, if you were to seek guidance from a car salesperson or a stockbroker, the advice is likely skewed for their benefits as that’s the nature of the job.

While not every nurse holds the same set of skills, one thing is for sure, a simple thank you is all the payment that is required.

In summary, trusting a stranger with your medical issues is a scary thing. We all have fear of judgement when in a vulnerable state. Will my embarrassing issues be told to my family? Will I be made to feel like I’m the only one going through this? It’s clear from the research, great nurses do the total opposite. They are tasked with being your pick-me-up, when you could be at an all time low. And they do so knowing it’s all for the love of the job!

Emma Smith