School of Nursing

January 22, 2020

Nurses are the Most Trusted Profession

For the 18th year in a row, nurses have been rated as the most trusted profession in The United States, according to the 2019 Gallup Poll. With 85% of the people rating nurses’ honesty and integrity as “high” or “very high,” the most recent figures were a record high and placed nurses far ahead of every other profession.

This reflects the important role we play in the health care ecosystem, and the degree to which patients and their families depend on nurses as not only caregivers, but also as “translators” of medical information, sources of information, primary care providers, researchers, educators, and good listeners.

Despite this enviable and unequaled record, nursing remains largely in the shadows when people talk about health care. Many people do not understand the full spectrum of roles played by nurses today, from policy makers to caregivers, to independent practitioners providing urgently needed primary care in many underserved and rural areas of our country.

This year we have a unique opportunity to raise our profile and make our profession more visible.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared 2020 as the year of the nurse and midwife. WHO hopes to bring international recognition to the nurses and midwives who provide a substantial majority of the health care worldwide.

Another international effort, the Nursing Now initiative, also seeks to make nursing more visible, more respected, and better supported. UW is one of the leading US advocates for Nursing Now. The mission of Nursing Now USA is to increase the visibility and impact of nurses as policy makers, clinicians, researchers and managers to provide more equitable access to health care for everyone.

This year provides a rare opportunity for everyone associated with nursing to be a vocal advocate for our profession. It is not enough to assume that this will just happen, any more than we can assume that patients will just get well. WHO and the Nursing Now initiative are generating the momentum. It is up to us—all of us—to create the action that will make policy makers, lawmakers, educators, and the public at large aware of all that nursing is and all that it means to the health of every person on earth.

There are many ways to get involved, depending on your role and how much time you have. I encourage you to go to Nursing Now and sign the pledge to be part of this movement. And, while you are there, check out the 2020 resources. You can incorporate the International Year of the Nurse logo into your email signature, letterhead, PowerPoint templates, etc. And, there’s a whole list of things that you can do to join this effort.

For those of you who are leaders in hospitals and clinical settings, you can accept the Nightingale Challenge and provide leadership opportunities for early-career nurses in your organization. The UW School of Nursing is currently working on a couple of ideas that can support the Nightingale Challenge and we’ll be sharing those in the near future.

Now is the time to think about what you can do to be part of these international and national efforts. Think about who you can talk to, write to, or otherwise communicate with to help nursing become an equal and active health care partner.