Florence Nightingale Quotes

Who is 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

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Best 62 Quotes by Florence Nightingale | Page 1 of 3

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

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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

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

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

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

“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.”

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

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

“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.”

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

“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.”

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“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.”

“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.”

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“I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.”


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

“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.”

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

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

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

“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?”

“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.”

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

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

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

“Never give nor take an excuse.”

“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.”

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“Never underestimate the healing effects of beauty.”

“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.”

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“We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.”


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