Do Patients Trust Medical Providers?

In starting my book review series, I have explored a few reads that are down on the medical profession.  After delving into these stories of medical deceit, I was left wondering ‘Do patients trust their medical providers?’.  The authors of these whistle-blowing books certainly do not, but I doubt most of my patients have read ‘Overtreated‘.  Just how much do patients trust their providers?

This week, Gallup explored the very same question.  Ranking professionals from physicians and nurses to car salespeople and members of congress, Gallup asked Americans to rate people working in these fields based on honesty, ethical standards and their level of trust.  Congratulations nurses- with 85% of survey participants ranking nurses as honest and ethical, nursing tops the list as the most trusted profession.  Pharmacists and medical doctors came next with 75% and 70% rankings respectively.

What about nurse practitioners?  Unfortunately, Gallup did not survey regarding levels of trust among nurse practitioners specifically.  But, I think we can deduce that we would be right up at the top of the list with nurses and physicians as we are somewhat of a unique combination of the two professions.

Interestingly, a few members of the medical community don’t do so well on Gallup’s honesty and ethics rankings.  Psychiatrists fell low on list with only 41% of respondents viewing them as honest and ethical.  Chiropractors also ranked poorly with 38% of survey participants ranking them favorably.

It appears that despite occasional negative press, patients overwhelmingly trust their medical providers.  They perceive us ethical and honest.  What a privileged position we hold in the lives of our patients.  Let’s continue to treat our patients with honesty and respect so we can maintain our trusted patient-provider relationships… and so we don’t fall to the bottom of Gallup’s list alongside members of Congress (10%) and car salespeople (8%).

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