Florence Nightingale Quotes

Why should I know Florence Nightingale?

Florence Nightingale was a British social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. Nightingale became an icon of Victorian culture in the persona of "The Lady with the Lamp".

Born May 12, 1820
Died August 13, 1910

Books by Florence Nightingale


Best 62 Quotes by Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

“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.”

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

“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.”

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

“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.”

Florence Nightingale

“I attribute my success to this - I never gave or took any excuse.”

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

“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.”

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

“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.”

Florence Nightingale

“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.”

Florence Nightingale

“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

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

Florence Nightingale

“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.”

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

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“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?”

Florence Nightingale

“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 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.”

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

“Mankind must make heaven before we can ‘go to heaven’, in this world as in any other.”

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

“Never give nor take an excuse.”

Florence Nightingale

“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.”

Florence Nightingale

“Never underestimate the healing effects of beauty.”

Florence Nightingale

“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.”

Florence Nightingale

“Nursing is a progressive art such that to stand still is to go backwards.”

Florence Nightingale

“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.”

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

“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.”

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

“Remember my name. You'll be screaming it later.”

Florence Nightingale

“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.”

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

“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.”

Florence Nightingale

“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.”

Florence Nightingale

“The most important practical lesson that can be given to nurses is to teach them what to observe.”

Florence Nightingale

Products by Florence Nightingale

“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

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

Florence Nightingale

“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.”

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

“Unless we are making progress in our nursing every year, every month, every week, take my word for it we are going back.”

Florence Nightingale

“Unnecessary noise is the most cruel abuse of care which can be inflicted on either the sick or the well.”

Florence Nightingale

“Volumes are now written and spoken upon the effect of the mind upon the body. Much of it is true. But I wish a little more was thought of the effect of the body on the mind.”

Florence Nightingale

“We know nothing of the principle of health, the positive of which pathology is the negative, except from observation and experience. And nothing but observation and experience will teach us the ways to maintain or to bring back the state of health. It is often thought that medicine is the curative process. It is no such thing; nature alone cures.”

Florence Nightingale

“We set the treatment of bodies so high above the treatment of souls, that the physician occupies a higher place in society than the school-master.”

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

“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.”

Florence Nightingale

“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

“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.”

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

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

Florence Nightingale

“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.”

Florence Nightingale