90 Florence Nightingale Quotes About Nursing & Life

Looking for famous nursing quotes by Florence Nightingale? We have rounded up the best collection of most inspirational Florence Nightingale Quotes, sayings, (with images and pictures) about nursing, art, education, leadership and more.

Also See: Proud To Be a Nurse Quotes

Florence Nightingale (12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910) was an English social reformer, statistician and revolutionary figure in the field of  nursing. She was known as ‘The Angel of Crimea’ or the ‘Lady with the Lamp’.

The nursing profession today is, in large part of our medical fraternity, because of Nightingale’s dedication and commitment to serve others taking a holistic approach. She also wrote the book Notes On Nursing.

Selfless and God-fearing, Ms. Nightingale had give up her life of luxury to care for the sick and dying during the Crimean War. Don’t miss our article on inspirational doctor quotes, who serve us at large during tough times.

Inspirational Florence Nightingale Quotes

  1. “For the sick it is important to have the best.”                                                                                                     
    Nursing Quotes Florence Nightingale
    Nursing Quotes Florence Nightingale

  2. “Ignite the mind’s spark to rise the sun in you.”

  3. “Never underestimate the healing effects of beauty.”

  4. “Remember my name – you’ll be screaming it later.”

  5. “How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.”

  6. “Let each person tell the truth from his own experience.”

  7. “Everything is sketchy. The world does nothing but sketch.”

  8. “The first possibility of rural cleanliness lies in water supply.”

  9. “I attribute my success to this:—I never gave or took an excuse.”

  10. “I must strive to see only God in my friends, and God in my cats.”

  11. “There is no part of my life, upon which I can look back without pain.”

  12. “Nursing is a progressive art such that to stand still is to go backwards.”                                                       
    Florence Nightingale Quotes 150 years
    Florence Nightingale Quotes 150 years

  13. “Diseases, as all experience shows, are adjectives, not noun substantives.”

  14. “The best nurses have the essential qualifications before they go to school.”

  15. “Patriotism is not enough, there must be no hatred or bitterness for anyone.”

  16. “I stand at the altar of the murdered men, and, while I live, I fight their cause.”

  17. “Live life when you have it. Life is a splendid gift – there is nothing small about it.”

  18. “Wise and humane management of the patient is the best safeguard against infection.”

  19. “Let us never consider ourselves finished nurses….we must be learning all of our lives.”

  20. “Women have no sympathy and my experience of women is almost as large as Europe.”

  21. “That “of His own good pleasure” He has ” predestined” any souls to eternal damnation.”

  22. “I did not think of going to give myself a position, but for the sake of common humanity.”

  23. “Never dispute with anybody who wishes to contradict you, says a most reasonable saint.”

  24. “To be a good nurse one must be a good woman, or one is truly nothing but a tinling bell.”

  25. “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet just because there’s a picture next to it.”

  26. “Woman has nothing but her affections,–and this makes her at once more loving and less loved.”                                                                                                                                                                     
    Quotes From Florence Nightingale
    Quotes From Florence Nightingale

  27. “Unnecessary noise is the most cruel absence of care that can be inflicted on the sick or the well.”

  28. “To be a fellow worker with God is the highest aspiration of which we can conceive man capable.”

  29. “A human being does not cease to exist at death. It is change, not destruction, which takes place.”

  30. “To understand God’s thoughts we must study statistics, for these are the measure of his purpose.”

  31. “Rather, ten times, die in the surf, heralding the way to a new world, than stand idly on the shore.”

  32. “God spoke to me and called me to His Service. What form this service was to take the voice did not say.”

  33. “Mankind must make heaven before we can ‘go to heaven’ (as the phrase is), in this world as in any other.”

  34. “It is very well to say “be prudent, be careful, try to know each other.” But how are you to know each other?”

  35. “Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better.”

  36. “A nurse is to maintain the air within the room as fresh as the air without, without lowering the temperature.”

  37. “That Religion is not devotion, but work and suffering for the love of God; this is the true doctrine of Mystics.”

  38. “She said the object and color in the materials around us actually have a physical effect on us, on how we feel.”

  39. “And what nursing has to do in either case, is to put the patient in the best condition for nature to act upon him.”

  40. “Every nurse out to be careful to wash her hands very frequently during the day. If her face, too, so much the better.”

  41. “I do see the difference now between me and other men. When a disaster happens, I act and they make excuses.”                                                                                                               
    Florence Nightingale quotes statistics
    Florence Nightingale quotes statistics

  42. “It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very requirement in a hospital is that it should do the sick no harm.”

  43. “The craving for ‘the return of the day’, which the sick so constantly evince, is generally nothing but the desire for light.”

  44. “To be ‘in charge’ is certainly not only to carry out the proper measures yourself but to see that everyone else does so too.”

  45. “The world is put back by the death of everyone who has to sacrifice the development of his or her peculiar gifts to conventionality.”

  46. “I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words, they ought all to be distilled into actions and into actions which bring results.”

  47. “There is a physical, not moral, impossibility of supplying the wants of the intellect in the state of civilisation at which we have arrived.”

  48. “If a nurse declines to do these kinds of things for her patient, ‘because it is not her business’, I should say that nursing was not her calling.”

  49. “Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation as any painter’s or sculptor’s work.”

  50. “If you knew how unreasonably sick people suffer from reasonable causes of distress, you would take more pains about all these things.”

  51. “The martyr sacrifices herself entirely in vain. Or rather not in vain; for she makes the selfish more selfish, the lazy more lazy, the narrow narrower.”

  52. “I wish all the disinfecting fluids invented made such an “abominable smell” that they forced you to admit fresh air. That would be a useful invention.”

  53. “The only english patients I have ever known refuse tea, have been typhus cases; and the first sign of their getting better was their craving again for tea.”

  54. “I have lived and slept in the same bed with English countesses and Prussian farm women… no woman has excited passions among women more than I have.”

  55. “Badly constructed houses do for the healthy what badly constructed hospitals do for the sick. Once insure that the air is stagnant, and sickness is certain to follow.”

  56. “Why do people sit up so late, or, more rarely, get up so early? Not because the day is not long enough, but because they have no time in the day to themselves.”

  57. “What cruel mistakes are sometimes made by benevolent men and women in matters of business about which they know nothing and think they know a great deal.”

  58. “Let us run the race where all may win, rejoicing in their successes – as our own – and mourning their failures, wherever they are – as our own. We are all one Nurse.”

  59. “Jesus Christ raised women above the condition of mere slaves, mere ministers to the passions of the man, raised them by His sympathy, to be Ministers of God.”

  60. “I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel.”

  61. “The amount of relief and comfort experienced by the sick after the skin has been carefully washed and dried, is one of the commonest observations made at a sick bed.”

  62. “Apprehension, uncertainty, waiting, expectation, fear of surprise, do a patient more harm than any exertion. Remember he is face to face with his enemy all the time.”

  63. “By mortifying vanity we do ourselves no good. It is the want of interest in our life which produces it; by filling up that want of interest in our life we can alone remedy it.”

  64. “So never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself.”

  65. “If a patient is cold, if a patient is feverish, if a patient is faint, if he is sick after taking food, if he has a bed-sore, it is generally the fault not of the disease, but of the nursing.”

  66. “Poetry and imagination begin life. A child will fall on its knees on the gravel walk at the sight of a pink hawthorn in full flowers, when it is by itself. to praise God for it.”

  67. “Mysticism: to dwell on the unseen, to withdraw ourselves from the things of sense into communion with god – to endeavour to partake of the Divine nature; that is, of Holiness.”

  68. “For it may safely be said, not that the habit of ready and correct observation will by itself make us useful nurses, but that without it we shall be useless with all our devotion.”

  69. “Let whoever is in charge keep this simple question in her head (not, how can I always do this right thing myself, but) how can I provide for this right thing to be always done?”

  70. “Beggars in the streets of London were at that time leading the lives of princes, compared to the life of our soldiers in the Crimea when I arrived on the scene with thirty-six nurses.”

  71. “In it and in the other prayers of the Mystics there is scarcely a petition. There is never a word of the theory that God’s dealings with us are to show His “power”; still less of the theory.”

  72. “Live your life while you have it. Life is a splendid gift. There is nothing small in it. Far the greatest things grow by God’s law out of the smallest. But to live your life, you must discipline it.”

  73. “Women dream till they have no longer the strength to dream; those dreams against which they so struggle, so honestly, vigorously, and conscientiously, and so in vain, yet which are their.”

  74. “Asceticism is the trifling of an enthusiast with his power, a puerile coquetting with his selfishness or his vanity, in the absence of any sufficiently great object to employ the first or overcome the last.”

  75. “The very elements of what constitutes good nursing are as little understood for the well as for the sick. The same laws of health, or of nursing, for they are in reality the same, obtain among the well as among the sick.”

  76. “For us who Nurse, our Nursing is a thing, which, unless in it we are making progress every year, every month, every week, take my word for it we are going back. The more experience we gain, the more progress we can make.”

  77. “No man, not even a doctor, ever gives any other definition of what a nurse should be than this – ‘devoted and obedient’. This definition would do just as well for a porter. It might even do for a horse. It would not do for a policeman.”

  78. “It is the unqualified result of all my experience with the sick that, second only to their need of fresh air, is their need of light; that, after a close room, what hurts them most is a dark room and that it is not only light but direct sunlight they want.”

  79. “Hospitals are only an intermediate stage of civilization, never intended … to take in the whole sick population. May we hope that the day will come … when every poor sick person will have the opportunity of a share in a district sick-nurse at home.”

  80. “May we hope that, when we are all dead and gone, leaders will arise who have been personally experienced in the hard, practical work, the difficulties, and the joys of organizing nursing reforms, and who will lead far beyond anything we have done!”

  81. “Women should have the true nurse calling, the good of the sick first the second only the consideration of what is their ‘place’ to do – and that women who want for a housemaid to do this or the charwomen to do that, when the patient is suffering, have not the making of a nurse in them.”

  82. “Instead of wishing to see more doctors made by women joining what there are, I wish to see as few doctors, either male or female, as possible. For, mark you, the women have made no improvement they have only tried to be ‘men’ and they have only succeeded in being third-rate men.”

  83. “The most important practical lesson that can be given to nurses is to teach them what to observe – how to observe – what symptoms indicate improvement – what the reverse – which are of importance – which are of none – which are the evidence of neglect – and of what kind of neglect.”

  84. “A woman cannot live in the light of intellect. Society forbids it. Those conventional frivolities, which are called her ‘duties’, forbid it. Her ‘domestic duties’, high-sounding words, which, for the most part, are but bad habits (which she has not the courage to enfranchise herself from, the strength to break through), forbid it.”

  85. “People say the effect is only on the mind. It is no such thing. The effect is on the body, too. Little as we know about the way in which we are affected by form, by colour, and light, we do know this, that they have an actual physical effect. Variety of form and brilliancy of colour in the objects presented to patients, are actual means of recovery.”

  86. “Women never have a half-hour in all their lives (excepting before or after anybody is up in the house) that they can call their own, without fear of offending or of hurting someone. Why do people sit up so late, or, more rarely, get up so early? Not because the day is not long enough, but because they have ‘no time in the day to themselves.’ 1852”

  87. “What the horrors of war are, no one can imagine. They are not wounds and blood and fever, spotted and low, or dysentery, chronic and acute, cold and heat and famine. They are intoxication, drunken brutality, demoralization and disorder on the part of the inferior… jealousies, meanness, indifference, selfish brutality on the part of the superior.”

  88. “If I could give you information of my life it would be to show how a woman of very ordinary ability has been led by God in strange and unaccustomed paths to do in His service what He has done in her. And if I could tell you all, you would see how God has done all, and I nothing. I have worked hard, very hard, that is all; and I have never refused God anything.”

  89. “Give us back our suffering, we cry to Heaven in our hearts – suffering rather than indifferentism; for out of nothing comes nothing. But out of suffering nay come the cure. Better have pain than paralysis! A hundred struggle and drown in the breakers. One discovers the new world. But rather, ten times rather, die in the surf, heralding the way to that new world, than stand idly on the shore!”

  90. “I would earnestly ask my sisters to keep clear of both the jargons now current everywhere (for they are equally jargons); of the jargon, namely, about the “rights” of women, which urges women to do all that men do, including the medical and other professions, merely because men do it, and without regard to whether this is the best that women can do; and of the jargon which urges women to do nothing that men do, merely because they are women, and should be “recalled to a sense of their duty as women,” and because “this is women’s work,” and “that is men’s,” and “these are things which women should not do,” which is all assertion and nothing more. Surely woman should bring the best she has, whatever that is, to the work of God’s world, without attending to either of these cries.”

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The World Health Assembly has designated 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife to honor of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth and to advance nurses’ vital role in transforming health care around the world. Hope the greatest, and most inspiring Florence Nightingale quotes make your everyday shift something to remember.


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