Public's Trust in Healthcare Workers - Essay Sample

Published: 2024-01-05
Public's Trust in Healthcare Workers - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Sociology Healthcare
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1669 words
14 min read


The healthcare sector is a sensitive field whose operations are tailored to proficiency, practitioners’ efficacy, and trust, among other factors. With the three critical elements, practitioners nurture a conducive and favorable healthcare environment suitable for facilitating the execution of services in their respective departments. Although proficiency and practitioners’ efficacy are at the heart of quality service delivery in medical institutions, trust lays the foundation upon which performance is achieved and assessed (Liang et al., 2013). Typically, the public is more likely to open up and disclose their information if they trust their medical practitioners, among other healthcare professionals (Liang et al., 2013). With trust, a better-quality interaction is achieved, resulting in greater patient autonomy and collective decision-making.

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In healthcare, the concept of trust is of much importance, precisely because both health and healthcare involve elements of risks and uncertainty for the public and patients reliant on the competence and efficacy of the healthcare professionals. Medical institutions that nurture and promote trust in their operations are associated with positive outcomes, including lower anxiety, perception of robust and improved care, and greater acceptance to recommend treatment and adhere to thatLiang et al., 2013). However, while trust is an essential element in the healthcare sector, studies indicate that inconsistencies and lack of time with the patients are some of the primary factors contributing to its erosion over the years (Liang et al., 2013). Therefore, medical practitioners are advised to embrace trends that nurture and build trust amongst themselves and patients to positively influence primary care in their respective institutions and service delivery levels.

Description of the Problem

As mentioned earlier, the doctor-patient relationship is essential, considering its role in promoting positive treatment outcomes. Through trust, honesty, and good communication skills, doctors rely on the public to make life-saving decisions, facilitating quality health and patient care. However, over the years, the sacrosanct relationship between doctors and patients is fast eroding, losing their trust and high esteem in society as it was decades ago. In other words, the public is losing trust in medical practitioners because of their compromised operations and quest for profits. Besides, medical institutions have recently recorded an increase in the number of patients, reducing the level of interaction between patients and doctors. With a reduced interaction rate, trust is not achieved, and patients are not free to open up to disclose their information to the health practitioners.

Khullar (2018) states that trust is a fundamental cornerstone in the healthcare sector, just like it is in other sectors of the economy. While trust is vital for the United States' social and economic well-being, Khullar (2018) claims that, over the years, trust has been on the decline, and its immediate effects are felt on public health and safety. Notably, the declining trust between the public and medical practitioners has dire consequences, particularly during emergencies, epidemics, and pandemics as the one the world is currently faced with the Coronavirus.

The declining trust between doctors and the public is quite alarming, particularly in the recent decades, considering the fact that in the 1960s, more than three-quarters of the United States' diverse population trusted and had confidence in their health professionals (Khullar, 2018). Today, the figures have drastically dropped, with only 34% of the entire United States' population express trust and confidence in the medical practitioners (Khullar, 2018). Owing to the reduced level of trust, the United States' health sector is largely affected, facilitating unwarranted unhealthy behaviors and stifling innovations, among others.

While research indicates that several factors dilute the trust and strong relationships between patients and doctors, Sweeney (2018) believes that the eroding trust levels in the healthcare sector, particularly in the United States, chiefly results from lack of enough time between patients and doctors. Ideally, trust builds over time through repeated actions, which are quite complex to actualize in primary healthcare. As such, doctors fail to establish meaningful rapports with their patients because of their tight schedules resulting from the overwhelming number of patients.

Discrimination in the medical sector has also been one of the significant concerns ruining the trust between medics and patients in the US. Also, considering employees shop for the cheapest insurance rates and covers in the market, patients are continually booking appointments with different medics, an aspect that makes it quite challenging to establish and build trust. Most often than not, patients tend to build trust with doctors from different institutions from scratch, hoping their newly found relationship will last long enough to positively impact their treatment and diagnosis processes.

Typically, different nations across the world are struggling with the issue of reduced trust between doctors and patients. As such, millions of citizens are directly and indirectly affected, jeopardizing the healthcare sector while questioning its level of service delivery. For instance, in the United States, millions of citizens are affected by the mistrust between doctors and the public, leading to unwarranted health behaviors such as not complying with the medics' regulations and treatment, among other aspects.

Despite the current struggles in developed economies, underdeveloped and developing countries are largely and disproportionately affected by the rampant issue of reduced trust between healthcare professionals and the public. Some of the prevalent inequities across the distinct countries include the inadequate time between patients and doctors, the overwhelming number of patients, and inadequate healthcare resources critical to facilitate the execution of services across the medical institutions in the distinct countries.

Social Determinant

In the United States, the minority groups, including blacks and Hispanics, are the most affected by the issue of mistrust between patients and physicians (Artiga, 2013). The outlined groups make up the minority population in the United States, and due to their limited numbers, race, and ethnicity, they are discriminated against compared to the whites in the same country. Blacks and Hispanics lack the empowerment to thrive, and most, if not all, cannot afford health insurance covers (Artiga, 2013). In other words, Blacks and Hispanics are vulnerable to the health sector, and most cannot trust healthcare professionals. For instance, between 2010 and 2018, the number of uninsured people of color remains significantly high as compared to other groups in the United States (Artiga & Orgera, 2020). In 2010, 19.9 % of the Black population aged between 0 and 64 years were insured while 32.6% of the Hispanic population was uninsured (Artiga & Orgera, 2020). In 2018, however, the number of the uninsured minority groups significantly dropped with a margin of 13.6% while that of the Blacks reduced by a margin of about 8.4% (Artiga & Orgera, 2020). Despite the drop, disparity in the health sector, particularly amongst the minority groups persist eroding trusts between doctors and the public. As mentioned earlier, racial and ethnic minorities have problems accessing healthcare in the United States. When they receive the care, it is coupled with a different experience from that of other groups, which involves the inability to pay, patient preference, geographical variability, and differential treatment by the service providers (Andermann, 2016). Besides, the minority groups have low socioeconomic status and tend to work and live in a degraded environment. As such, the minority groups have extended exposure to diseases, among other conditions that make them even more vulnerable. Some of the social determinants affecting the reduced trust between medics and the public, particularly amongst the minority groups, include education, income, social support, employment, early childhood development, and gender (Andermann, 2016). All of these factors have contributed to reduced trust and confidence in the health professionals in the United States and other nations worldwide.

The declining trust between healthcare professionals and the public is also subject to the existing cultural and language barriers. Typically, medicine is developed into a unique subculture defined by specific history, codes of conduct, language, methods, technologies, among other factors (Andermann, 2016). On the other hand, humans are governed by biologic universals that, in this case, surpass cultural boundaries. Owing to the difference between medicine and the human culture, gaps exist in the healthcare sector that have further widened the mistrust between medical practitioners and the public. Specifically, culture has widened the mistrust issue through the practitioners’ inability to recognize and professionally handle illness and perspectives that deviate from the science of medicine (Andermann, 2016). Therefore, practitioners in the distinct medical facilities should pay more attention to the patients’ values and culture to understand their condition, thus, reducing the discrepancies between them and the public.

Typically, different jurisdictions embrace different laws and policies tailored to their respective citizens' needs and specifications (Whetten et al., 2006). For instance, in the United States, while the federal government is committed to improving service delivery in healthcare through Medicaid and Medicare, some states are reluctant to expand the programs to accommodate more people, particularly from the minority groups (Whetten et al., 2006). As such, the public continues to lose their trust and confidence in healthcare professionals since they feel discriminated against.

As mentioned earlier, the minority groups in the United States are largely affected by a lack of trust in health professionals because of their socioeconomic status (Whetten et al., 2006). Most individuals from the minority groups do not have stable jobs and earn minimum wage, implying that most, if not all, cannot afford quality healthcare. Also, most live in a degraded environment that further exposes them to risk factors, including diseases (Whetten et al., 2006). Through their experience, minority groups lose their trust and confidence in healthcare professionals.


Ultimately, the government affects the lack of trust between healthcare professionals and the public by failing to implement laws and policies that nurture and facilitate the creation of a conducive and favorable social, economic, and political environment critical to empowering the citizens’ well-being (Whetten et al., 2006). Strategies and Gaps. As a fundamental component in the healthcare sector, different measures, interventions, and strategies have been used to improve the level of trust between health professionals and the public. Some of the social interventions used include emphasizing the confidentiality of the patient-doctor relationship by word of mouth or through leaflets (Car et al., 2003). Also, insisting on the embracement of good and cordial communication skills amongst the health practitioners when interacting with patients and improving the patients' access to healthcare (Car et al., 2003).

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