RALEIGH, N.C. — Nurses practice the most trusted profession, according to a new Gallup poll.
The majority of Americans rank nurses’ honesty and ethical standards as “very high” or “high.”
Only 12% say the same for members of Congress.
Nurses often spend the most time with patients, listening to their concerns and helping them navigate the health care system.
Catherine Sevier, a retired nurse and current president of AARP North Carolina, says many 50-plus North Carolinians depend on nurses to stay healthy.
“Nurses consistently show up as the most trustworthy, and I think that is because the public feels like we’re there for their care, not necessarily for the organization we represent, or for some other motivation, that we’re really there to express concern about them,” she states.
Sevier adds that more than 4 million North Carolinians live in the state’s rural counties where primary care physicians are in short supply.
She points out that older adults may face barriers such as long travel distances to a provider and wait times for appointments.
Sevier maintains the state’s nurse practitioners could help fill the void in primary care, especially in rural areas.
“And I think that’s why they are so important to you as you age,” she stresses. “Because, frequently, people who are older have more than one chronic disease, and that impacts how they live their lives, and so they need that extra assistance.”
Last year, state lawmakers introduced legislation known as the SAVE Act, which Sevier says would benefit communities by cutting red tape that currently prevents advanced-practice registered nurses from being able to treat patients without physician oversight.
Advocates say the bipartisan bill still could be passed in 2020.