Nurses and other healthcare professionals persevered through 2021 and its obstacles, including the COVID-19 pandemic, staff shortages, and increasing rates of burnout, and their selflessness, drive, and honesty have not gone unnoticed by the American public, according to Gallup’s annual Most Honest and Ethical Professions Poll. In results released in January 2022, Americans ranked nurses as the most honest professionals for the 20th consecutive year on a list that also included physicians, grade-school teachers, pharmacists, and other professions.

In the survey, 81% of respondents rated the honesty and ethical standards of nurses and the profession as very high or high. Medical doctors followed nurses with 67% of respondents rating the profession very high or high, and grade-school teachers took third place with 64% of respondents rating the profession very high or high. According to Gallup, since the organization added nurses to the survey in 1999, the profession has topped the list all but once: In 2001, nurses were displaced by firefighters in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

“Three of the top four—nurses, medical doctors, and pharmacists—are medical professions that enjoyed boosted ratings in 2020, likely because of their service to the public during the pandemic. The 2020 rating for nurses was the highest for any profession other than firefighters in 2001, whereas that year’s physicians’ rating was the highest ever for that profession,” Gallup said.

“2021 was an incredibly difficult year for individual nurses and the nursing profession. Many suffered greatly while having a critical role in the colossal response and recovery efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” American Nurses Association President Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN, said in response to the poll’s results. “The fact that this is the 20th year in a row that the American public has voted nurses #1 is a testament to nurses’ consistent professionalism, despite the challenges of the persistent pandemic.”