1. Alexander, Mary MA, RN, CRNI(R), CAE, FAAN
  2. INS Chief Executive Officer Editor, Journal of Infusion Nursing

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For the 20th consecutive year, the Gallup survey found that nurses rank number 1 in honesty and ethics. The US public rated nurses the highest among all other professionals, including medical physicians, grade-school teachers, and pharmacists. According to the poll, 81% of Americans rated nurses' honesty and ethical standards as "very high" or "high." The second highest-rated profession, medical physicians, was rated a full 14 percentage points behind nursing.1

Mary Alexander, MA, ... - Click to enlarge in new windowMary Alexander, MA, RN, CRNI(R), CAE, FAAN INS Chief Executive Officer Editor,

Despite the challenges of the pandemic and the impact on nurses' well-being and mental health, nurses continue to demonstrate their commitment to the profession and the patients they serve. There are many reasons why the public consistently ranks nursing as the most trusted profession. Nurses are advocates who provide patient-centered care when patients are at their most vulnerable. They are at the frontline and/or bedside interacting with patients more than many other health care professionals, including physicians.


The American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Ethics2 serves as a guide for nursing practice and the ethical obligations of the profession.


It has four main principles: 1) autonomy: recognizing each individual patient's right to self-determination and decision-making; 2) beneficence: acting for the welfare of others/actions guided by compassion; 3) justice: fairness in all health care decisions and care; and 4) nonmaleficence: to do no harm. It also has 9 interpretative statements or provisions, last revised in 2015, that help to guide nurses in ethical decision-making throughout their practice. Provisions 1-3 articulate the fundamental values and commitments of the nurse (eg, practice with compassion, primary commitment to the patient); provisions 4-6 identify the boundaries of duty and loyalty (eg, make decisions consistent with optimal patient care, maintain competence); and provisions 7-9 describe the duties that extend beyond individual patient encounters (eg, research, standards development).


This year the ANA theme for Nurses Month (May) is "You Make a Difference." To celebrate this month, I suggest you recognize and promote the contributions and positive impact of nurses. As the Gallup survey poll confirms, nurses make a large difference in the lives of their patients and in the health and wellness of their communities. And, while we call out nurses during May each year, meaningful recognition should be a year-round, continuous action.


Over and over you've demonstrated that what you do and the trust patients have in you matters. Congratulations to all nurses for this well-deserved recognition. Achieving this recognition never gets old.


Mary Alexander




1. Reinhart RJ. Nurses continue to rate highest in honesty, ethics. Gallup. January 6, 2020. Accessed March 28, 2022.[Context Link]


2. Fowler MDM. Guide to the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements. 2nd edition. American Nurses Association; 2015. [Context Link]