Poll: Dentists Trail Other Healthcare Workers in Perceived Honesty

The newest Gallup Poll on honesty and ethics places dentists in fourth position among healthcare professionals. Nearly 60 percent of Americans gave dentists a “very high/high” trust ranking. The American Dental Association’s Principles of Ethics and Code of Conduct recently marked its 150th Anniversary. Nurses are ranked as the most honest/ethical professionals.

A mainstay in the field of healthcare is trust. Without it, very little can be accomplished. When Americans were recently asked to rate the integrity of 22 professions, four of the top five were healthcare professionals.

According to the most recent Gallup Poll on Honesty and Ethics, the nation’s dentists received “very high/high” trust ratings from 59 percent of those polled. While that score placed dentists in the top five among all jobs, they lag other healthcare professionals in this important consideration.

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Trust is an issue is of some importance to the dental profession and its leaders.

Phillip Fijal, D.D.S., the president of Chicago Dental Society, was recently quoted in an interview as saying, “My personal mantra, what I live by, I call my ‘H.I.T. Principle’ which stands for honesty, integrity and trustworthiness. I apply that to my life whether in business or personal.”

Last year was the 150th anniversary of the American Dental Association’s formation of its Principles of Ethics and Code of Conduct, called “The ADA Code.”

For the 15th year in a row, the public voted nurses (84 percent) as the most ethical and trusted profession in the country. Pharmacists finished second at 67 percent. Tied for third were medical doctors and engineers at 65 percent. Chiropractors and psychiatrists (both at 38 percent) were the lowest rated healthcare professionals. Dentists topped police officers (58 percent) by one point. In the history of the poll, dentists have never fallen below 50 percent in the “very high/high” ethical ranking.

Just 7 percent of those surveyed gave dentists a “very low/low” rating in honesty and ethics. Only 3 percent of those polled said nurses had “low/very low” ethics and honesty; 7 percent gave that bad rating to MDs and 8 percent for pharmacists.

At the bottom of the trustworthy list were Members of Congress — just 8 percent of Americans think their national leaders in Washington, D.C. are honest/ethical. It was the only profession a majority of Americans rated as "low or very low."

Click to the next page to see the complete trustworthiness rankings by profession.

Based on telephone interviews with 1,025 Americans in every state, here are the honesty/ethics ratings for various other professions:

· Police Officers: 58 percent

· College Teachers: 47 percent

· Clergy: 44 percent

· Bankers: 24 percent

· Journalists: 23 percent

· Lawyers: 18 percent

· State Governors: 18 percent

· Business Executives: 17 percent

· HMO Managers: 12 percent

· Stockbrokers: 12 percent

· Advertising Person: 11 percent

· Insurance Sales: 11 percent

· Car Sales: 9 percent

· Members of Congress: 8 percent