During my father's time as a practicing physician there was no question in his mind (or mine) that his was the most "prestigious" profession. That distinction, in decline for many years, is back in good order, according to a September 2014 Harris Poll.
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”—Winston Churchill
During my father’s time as a practicing physician there was no question in his mind (or mine) that his was the most “prestigious” profession. That distinction, in decline for many years, is back in good order, according to a September 2014 Harris Poll.
More than 2,500 U.S. adults were shown a list of occupations this past summer and asked how much prestige each job had. Winning top honors were medical doctors with 88% of those polled considering that job to have either “a great deal of prestige” (45%) or to “have prestige” (44%).
The poll results should bring some welcome relief to America’s doctors, many who must feel that everyone is out to get them. It seems not.
Rounding out the top 10 jobs polled for prestige was: military officers (78%), firefighters (76%), scientists (76%), nurses (70%), engineers (69%), police officers (66%), priests/ministers/clergy (62%), architects (62%), and athletes (60%).
Those occupations considered to have the least amount of prestige were: real estate broker/agent (27%), union leaders (35%), stockbrokers (38%), banker (38%), and accountant (40%).
And while there is a definite decline among today’s physicians in the desire to see their children join them in the medical profession, the Harris Poll shows otherwise. Among those polled, 91% said they would encourage their child to become a doctor. Interestingly enough, doctor was not the top polled preference by parents for their child. It was engineer (93%), followed closely by scientist (91%), nurse (90%) and architect (88%).
I’m very pleased that doctors are back on top of the prestige mountain for a couple of reasons. First of all, because of their hard work and dedication they richly deserve the recognition. Also, because they have supplanted a pretty estimable group—the military.
By virtue of the recent successes of my nephew Andrew Kelly, a US Navy veteran and recent medical school graduate, I have renewed love and respect for the military and medicine.
Moreover, as a journalist I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and talking with a lot of interesting people—one of them being Peter Dawkins. He’s the man with perhaps the greatest resume in history—West Point graduate, Heisman Trophy winner, US Army General, Rhodes Scholar, Princeton PhD, and Wall Street financier.
A pretty knowledgeable fellow on the American military, General Dawkins says today’s service personnel are the finest in all history. “They have the best training, the best equipment, the best leadership, and the best esprit de corps in the world and for all time,” he told me. That’s pretty select company.
See doctors, people do like you!