50 Florence Nightingale Quotes

florence nightingale

Tough times don’t last, tough people do. But sometimes, it is easy to get lost in the struggles and begin doubting ourselves. Can we overcome what seems like an endless sea of struggles? Why did we even choose nursing as a career?

At this point in our lives, we need someone to inspire and motivate us. We need someone to show us what we are working towards, and why we need to stick to the fight.

Luckily, there is, or should I say, there was. No one did it better than the “Lady with the Lamp” – Florence Nightingale. Through her selflessness, dedication, and commitment to serve others, she revolutionized nursing as a profession.

Florence Nightingale’s Nursing Journey 

Florence Nightingale’s life story is nothing short of inspiring. She gave up a life of luxury and went against her parents’ wishes to pursue nursing in 1844.

As a nurse, she was so dedicated that instead of sleeping, she did nighttime rounds to tend to patients while carrying a lamp, hence her nickname, ‘lady with the lamp’.

Due to her work, the death count in the hospital was reduced by over two-thirds. When she came back after the war in 1855, Queen Victoria awarded Nightingale what is now known as the ‘Nightingale jewel’, along with $250,000, which she used to fund a nurse training school and a hospital.

Nightingale tackled everything that life threw at her and came out successful. She was the FOUNDER OF MODERN NURSING and is a figurehead in nursing. To this day, she is still regarded as a hero, and that is why as nurses, we often look up to her for inspiration.

Here are 50 of my favorite Florence Nightingale quotes:

Inspirational Florence Nightingale Quotes

florence nightingale quote

For the moments that you could use a little motivation to get through your shift, at times, a thoughtfully said inspirational quote might be just the thing you need to keep going.  The following are some inspirational Florence Nightingale quotes that will completely change your perspective:

  1.  “Never give nor take an excuse.”
  2. “Ignite the mind’s spark to rise the sun in you.”
  3. “There is no part of my life, upon which I can look back without pain.”
  4. “A human being does not cease to exist at death. It is change, not destruction, which takes place.”
  5. “Mankind must make heaven before we can ‘go to heaven’ (as the phrase is), in this world as in any other.”
  7. “Remember my name … you’ll be screaming it later.”
  8. “A hundred struggle and drown in the breakers. One discovers the new world. Rather, ten times, die in the surf heralding the way to a new world, than stand idly on the shore.”
  9. “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.”
  10. “You ask me why I do not write something…. I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words, they ought all to be distilled into actions and into actions which bring results.”
  11. “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.
  12. “How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.”
  13. “The world is put back by the death of everyone who has to sacrifice the development of his or her peculiar gifts to conventionality.”

Florence Nightingale Quotes on Nursing Students

In my opinion, nursing school is harder than the years spent as a practicing nurse. From the crippling self-doubt while juggling studies and working night-shift to not being sure where you fit in, life as a nursing student is certainly hard.

If you’re a nursing student who’s wondering how you’ll find the strength to make it through the rest of the semester, the following Florence Nightingale quotes on nursing students will get you through nursing school:

  1.  “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; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God’s spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts.”
  2. “I use the word nursing for want of a better. It has been limited to signify little more than the administration of medicines and the application of poultices. It ought to signify the proper use of fresh air, light, warmth, cleanliness, quiet, and the proper selection and administration of diet-all at the least expense of vital power to the patient.”
  3. “A nurse is to maintain the air within the room as fresh as the air without, without lowering the temperature.”
  4. “Every nurse out to be careful to wash her hands very frequently during the day. If her face, too, so much the better.”
  5. “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.”
  6. “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.”
  7. 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.”
  8. “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. I have seen surgical “sisters,” women whose hands were worth to them two or three guineas a-week, down upon their knees scouring a room or hut, because they thought it otherwise not fit for their patients to go into. I am far from wishing nurses to scour. It is a waste of power. But I do say that these women had the true nurse-calling—the good of their sick first, and second only the consideration what it was their “place” to do—and that women who wait for the housemaid to do this, or for the charwoman to do that, when their patients are suffering, have not the making of a nurse in them.”

Florence Nightingale Quotes About Patient Care

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Nurses who truly care for their patients as they provide medical assistance create a gratifying experience for everyone. The following are Florence Nightingale quotes that will inspire you to provide the best possible care for your patients:

  1.  “For the sick, it is important to have the best.”
  2. “Unnecessary noise is the most cruel absence of care that can be inflicted on the sick or the well.”
  3. “To attempt to keep a ward warm at the expense of making the sick repeatedly breathe their own hot, humid, putrescine atmosphere is a certain way to delay recovery or to destroy life.”
  4. “The very first requirement in a hospital is that it should DO THE SICK NO HARM.”
  5. “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.”
  6. “It is often thought that medicine is the curative process. It is no such thing; medicine is the surgery of functions, as surgery proper is that of limbs and organs. Neither can do anything but remove obstructions; neither can cure; nature alone cures. Surgery removes the bullet out of the limb, which is an obstruction to cure, but nature heals the wound. So it is with medicine; the function of an organ becomes obstructed; medicine, so far as we know, assists nature to remove the obstruction, but does nothing more. And what nursing has to do in either case, is to put the patient in the best condition for nature to act upon him.”
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 color, and light, we do know this, that they have an actual physical effect. Variety of form and brilliancy of color in the objects presented to patients, are actual means of recovery.
  10. 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.
  11. “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.”

Florence Nightingale Quotes On Education

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  1. “The best nurses have the essential qualifications before they go to school.”
  2. To understand God’s thoughts, one must study statistics, for these are the measure of His purpose.
  3. “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.”
  4. “Let us never consider ourselves finished nurses … we must be learning all of our lives.”
  5. “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.”

Florence Nightingale Quotes On Life

  1. “Let each person tell the truth from his own experience.”
  2. “Everything is sketchy. The world does nothing but sketch.”
  3. “Life is a hard fight, a struggle, a wrestling with the principle of evil, hand to hand, foot to foot. Every inch of the way is disputed. The night is given us to take a breath, to pray, to drink deep at the fountain of power. The day, to use the strength which has been given us, to go forth to work with it till the evening.”
  4. “Patriotism is not enough, there must be no hatred or bitterness for anyone.”
  5. Live life when you have it. Life is a splendid gift — there is nothing small about it. For the greatest things grow by God’s Law out of the smallest. But to live your life you must discipline it. You must not fritter it away in “fair purpose, erring act, inconstant will” but make your thoughts, your acts, all work to the same end and that end, not self but God. That is what we call character.”
  6. “Never dispute with anybody who wishes to contradict you, says a most reasonable saint.”

Florence Nightingale Quotes on Leadership

  1. 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?
  2. “To be “in charge” is certainly not only to carry out the proper measures yourself but to see that every one else does so too; to see that no one either willfully or ignorantly thwarts or prevents such measures. It is neither to do everything yourself nor to appoint a number of people to each duty, but to ensure that each does that duty to which he is appointed.”
  3. “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!”

Florence Nightingale Quotes on God

  1. “To be a fellow worker with God is the highest aspiration of which we can conceive man capable.”
  2. “People talk about imitating Christ, and imitate Him in the little trifling formal things, such as washing the feet, saying His prayer, and so on; but if anyone attempts the real imitation of Him, there are no bounds to the outcry with which the presumption of that person is condemned.”
  3. “I must strive to see only God in my friends, and God in my cats.”
  4. “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.”

The ‘Angel of the Crimea’ was a great nurse, to say the least. And to reach such excellence is impossible without being her student. Through her book, Florence Nightingale brought attention to the personal and professional changes nurses need to make. Little did she know that over 100 years later, her words would be inspiring us.

Find Supplemental Education and Motivation Under One Roof! 

I hope you find hope, inspiration, and motivation through the words of one of the best in the nursing field – Florence Nightingale. For more motivating quotes and inspiring pieces, you should check out NURSING.com.

Our site is a  supplemental education tool for struggling nursing students who are in need of motivation. Our main focus is to ensure that nursing students get all the information and motivation they need to thrive in their nursing career.

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