This Is How Americans View Doctors, Survey Says


By Liz Meszaros

Forget the superheroes that make up the DC and Marvel Universes. Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear white coats. Throughout America each day, thousands of everyday heroes dedicate their lives to helping others. Firefighters, policemen, teachers, coaches—and doctors.

You may be surprised to hear that Americans consider physicians as heroes, but that’s exactly what the folks at Vantis Life, a life insurance company, found when they surveyed over 2,000 people. Respondents were asked to rank 22 common US professions from most to least heroic. They were also queried about how important they thought these heroes were, and what level of trustworthiness and compensation heroes had or should have.

This is heartening news, especially since results from a survey from the Pew Research Center found that only 57% of US adults believe their doctors always care about their best interests. The survey also showed that the American public is pretty skeptical about the integrity of physicians, medical researchers, and scientific researchers in general.

So, without further ado, here are the top ten heroic jobs according to Vantis Life:

1. Soldiers

2. Firefighters

3. Police officers

4. Doctors

5. Nurses

6. Teachers

7. Scientists

8. Veterinarians

9. Stay-at-home moms

10. Farmers

Surprised? So were we. But when you consider that two qualities ranked most important to survey respondents in defining a hero, you may not be. These qualities were “saving someone’s life” and “risking their own life.” The top five professions on the list clearly reflect this.

The jobs ranked as #6-10 show what else was important in their rankings of heroic professions. Here’s a breakdown of what traits were valued most, in order of importance:

-Saving someone’s life: 80%

-Risking your own life: 77%

-Standing up for other people: 75%

-Being a role model: 68%

-Being a good leader: 55%

-Taking risks: 54%

-Sacrificing spare time for no extra pay: 47%

What professions were the least heroic? Politicians, actors, and professional sports players. No surprises there.


Surveyors at Vantis Life also queried respondents to rank these professions based on how trustworthy they considered the individuals in them to be. It turns out that the professions on this ‘most trustworthy’ list were similar, with only slight differences in the rankings. The only profession that appears in this list that didn’t appear before was stay-at-home dads.

Day-to-day importance

Respondents were also asked to rate these professions by how important they are to daily life. For this ranking, the greatest considerations were education, protection, provision, and care. Not surprisingly, doctors made the top of the list, reflecting the importance respondents placed on education:

1. Doctor

2. Teacher

3. Police officer

4. Firefighter

5. Nurse

6. Stay-at-home mom

7. Soldier

8. Farmer

9. Stay-at-home dad

10. Scientist


The more heroic the job, the bigger the paycheck should be. That’s what respondents revealed. Here are the top 10 jobs they think should be paid the most. Again, that doctors again are ranked #1 is notable.

1. Doctor

2. Firefighter

3. Nurse

4. Police officer

5. Soldier

6. Teacher

7. Scientist

8. Veterinarian

9. Farmer

10. Plumber

Unfortunately, these rankings have no bearing on how much these heroic professions are really paid. In fact, noted the folks from Vantis, “the most heroic jobs often receive smaller paychecks than their less heroic counterparts.”

In the top four spots of best-paid professions are: Doctor, veterinarian, nurse, and scientist. And, in the real world, politicians, actors, sports players, and news anchors—all with low hero ratings—all make the top 10 on the real-world pay list. But then again, life has never really been fair, has it?

All in all, these results are very telling and encouraging, especially for doctors. The results speak to how appreciated and valued physicians are, as a whole, to the patients they serve every day.

“This study highlighted that people who take on high-risk jobs that require sacrifice of safety and time are indeed seen as heroes. The survey results offer interesting insight into the values we appreciate in various professions, and prompt discussion around whether the most heroic are appropriately compensated,” concluded surveyors.

So, the next time you are feeling overworked, bogged down with too much paperwork, or are called into the hospital from a relaxing family weekend, remember that you—as a physician—are one of America’s greatest heroes.

And, in case you’re worried about [spoiler alert!] the missing void Iron Man left behind—don’t. With everyday heroes like physicians around, the world may not miss him so desperately.


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