Americans Trust Nurses Most to Improve the Healthcare System. Shouldn’t Your Organization?

Author: Nurse-1-1 Medical Team

Hey, have you heard? Americans trust Nurses to improve the U.S. healthcare system over every other healthcare group. By far. Why should it matter to your organization? Because trust may be the single most important factor that dictates your patients’ healthcare decisions. 

This past October (of 2019), The New York Times, the Commonwealth Fund, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conducted a survey of 2,005 adults titled “Americans’ Values and Beliefs About National Health Insurance Reform.” The survey specifically asked how much trust the public has in various healthcare stakeholders to improve the U.S. healthcare system. Over half of respondents (58%) trust nurses to undertake this goal. Only 30% of those same respondents trust doctors, and 18% trust hospitals to improve the system. The stats are even worse for health insurance companies, the government, and business leaders. Find the final report here

Americans trust nurses over doctors

Were we surprised to see nurses as the most trusted group to improve healthcare? With nearly double the trust rate compared to doctors? Nope! After all, we are called Nurse-1-1 for a reason. However, this knowledge does make me wonder if our healthcare system is doing enough to put nurses at the center, and creating opportunities for them to innovate and improve the system.

It’s not like the jury is still out on whether patients will respond positively to more interactions with nurses during their care journeys. Opinion polls in the U.S. have rated nurses as the most trusted profession for the past 17 years. Nurses exude ethics, honesty, and care. They were “mission-driven” way before this became the cool buzzword for startups. And most importantly, patients trust them. 

Patients trust nurse to care for their ill grandfathers. They trust them to explain the complicated jargon that just came out of the doctor’s mouth. They trust them to be honest. And, they trust them to make healthcare better than it is today. 

Trust leads to patient engagement

This one little factor, trust, can make or break a patient’s experience as they navigate the healthcare landscape and make decisions that greatly affect them. From step one, when illness strikes and patients’ journeys begin, patients are searching for a place they can trust to return them back to health. If you are a healthcare entity of any kind (payer, provider, employer, information source), how you engage with patients during this critical moment will greatly dictate the next steps of the patient’s journey. 

Please note the emphasis in the last sentence, it’s how YOU engage with your patients, not how patients engage with you. Fail to build the right level of trust at the outset and your patient is more likely to make poorer healthcare decisions, like postponing care or unnecessarily ending up in an ER. Postponed care can lead to increased healthcare costs and bad outcomes, both things we strive to avoid. Create solid trust from inception and patients will seek care as recommended, stay engaged, avoid the ER, and live healthier lives. 

Are you building high-levels of trust with your patients from step one? If you don’t have nurses involved at this crucial step, chances are the answer is no. 

When we decided to build a company that helps people during the very first step of their illness journey, we knew nurses must be the foundation. That’s why patients who use Nurse-1-1 are messaging with a nurse within 30 seconds. When it comes to our product, our motto is: “get the heck out of the way and let nurses work their trust-building magic.” 

Want to build more trust with your patients at this critical moment? Nurse-1-1 is here to help. Learn more by visiting the providers, payers, and employers sections of our website. Or contact us below and we’ll tell you more.