85 Greatest Florence Nightingale Quotes For Nurses

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florence nightingale quotes

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Sometimes, tough times make us forget why we’ve chosen nursing as a career in the first place. But then, there are people who always zap us back to reality and inspire us to stick to the fight. And that includes Florence Nightingale.

Selfless and God-fearing, Ms. Nightingale left a life of luxury to care for the sick and dying during the Crimean War. Soon, she wrote the book Notes On Nursing and became the founder of modern nursing.

Today, Florence Nightingale’s legacy remains heartfelt. But with all the distractions we face day in and day out, it’s easy to get lost in our struggles and forget about our mission as modern nurses.

Let this list of the best, the greatest, and most inspiring Florence Nightingale quotes make your everyday shift something to remember.

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 quote

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.

florence nightingale tea quotes

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

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.

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.

To understand God’s thoughts one must study statistics… the measure of his purpose.

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

I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuse.

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

florence nightingale new world quotes

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.

florence nightingale war quotes

I do see the difference now between me and other men. When a disaster happens, I act and they make excuses.

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.

Live life when you have it. Life is a splendid gift-there is nothing small about it.

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.

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.

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.

The very first requirement in a hospital is that it should do the sick no harm.

The martyr sacrifices themselves entirely in vain. Or rather not in vain; for they make the selfish more selfish, the lazy more lazy, the narrow narrower.

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

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

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.

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

I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results.

For the sick, it is important to have the best.

The first possibility of rural cleanliness lies in water supply.

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.

florence nightingale fault of nursing quotes

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

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

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.

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

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

go to heaven quotes

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

Everything is sketchy. The world does nothing but sketch.

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.

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

Never give nor take an excuse.

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

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

Let each person tell the truth from his own experience.

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

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

Woman has nothing but her affections,–and this makes her at once more loving and less loved.

Nursing is a progressive art such that to stand still is to go backward.

Our first journey is to find that special place for us.

Nature alone cures. … what nursing has to do … is to put the patient in the best condition for nature to act upon him.

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

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

I am not yet worthy; and I will live to deserve to be called a Trained Nurse.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

The symptoms or the sufferings generally considered to be inevitable and incident to the disease are very often not symptoms of the disease at all, but of something quite different-of the want of fresh air, or of light, or of warmth, or of quiet, or of cleanliness, or of punctuality and care in the administration of diet, of each or of all of these.

Sick children, if not too shy to speak, will always express this wish. They invariably prefer a story to be told to them, rather than read to them.

A dark house is always an unhealthy house, always an ill-aired house, always a dirty house. Want of light stops growth and promotes scrofula, rickets, etc., among the children. People lose their health in a dark house, and if they get ill, they cannot get well again in it.

Everything you do in a patient’s room, after he is ‘put up’ for the night, increases tenfold the risk of his having a bad night. But, if you rouse him up after he has fallen asleep, you do not risk – you secure him a bad night.

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.

Starting a job and working hard is how to be successful.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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!

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

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.

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

The world is put back by the death of every one who has to sacrifice the development of his or her peculiar gifts to conventionality.

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.

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,

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.

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.

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

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

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