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Quotes by Florence Nightingale

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Florence Nightingale. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale, (12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910) was an English social reformer, statistician and the founder of modern nursing. Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War, in which she organised care for wounded soldiers at Constantinople. She gave nursing a favourable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of "The Lady with the Lamp" making rounds of wounded soldiers at night.

Recent commentators have asserted that Nightingale's Crimean War achievements were exaggerated by the media at the time, but critics agree on the importance of her later work in professionalising nursing roles for women. In 1860, she laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in London. It was the first secular nursing school in the world, and is now part of King's College London. In recognition of her pioneering work in nursing, the Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses, and the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve, were named in her honour, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated on her birthday. Her social reforms included improving healthcare for all sections of British society, advocating better hunger relief in India, helping to abolish prostitution laws that were harsh for women, and expanding the acceptable forms of female participation in the workforce.

Nightingale was a prodigious and versatile writer. In her lifetime, much of her published work was concerned with spreading medical knowledge. Some of her tracts were written in simple English so that they could easily be understood by those with poor literary skills. She was also a pioneer in data visualization with the use of infographics, effectively using graphical presentations of statistical data. Much of her writing, including her extensive work on religion and mysticism, has only been published posthumously.

Quote: 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. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

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.


Quote: Better to have pain than paralysis. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

Better to have pain than paralysis.


Quote: A global flu pandemic would kill between seven million and 200 million, depending on which scientist or medical journal you read. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

A global flu pandemic would kill between seven million and 200 million, depending on which scientist or medical journal you read.


Quote: I cannot remember the time when I have not longed for death...For years and years, I used to watch for death as no sick man ever watched for the morning. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

I cannot remember the time when I have not longed for death...For years and years, I used to watch for death as no sick man ever watched for the morning.


Quote: The time is come when women must do something more than the domestic hearth, which means nursing the infants, keeping a pretty house, having a good dinner and an entertaining party. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

The time is come when women must do something more than the domestic hearth, which means nursing the infants, keeping a pretty house, having a good dinner and an entertaining party.


Quote: Remember my name -- you'll be screaming it later. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

Remember my name -- you'll be screaming it later.


Quote: Never speak to an invalid from behind, nor from the door, nor from any distance from him, nor when he is doing anything. The official politeness of servants in these things is so grateful to invalids, that many prefer, without knowing why, having none but servants about them. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of Florence Nightingale quote; white text on black background

Never speak to an invalid from behind, nor from the door, nor from any distance from him, nor when he is doing anything. The official politeness of servants in these things is so grateful to invalids, that many prefer, without knowing why, having none but servants about them.


Quote: It is very well to say be prudent, be careful, try to know each other. But how are you to know each other? by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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


Quote: 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. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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.


Quote: Variety of form and brilliancy of colour in the objects presented to patients are actual means of recovery. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

Variety of form and brilliancy of colour in the objects presented to patients are actual means of recovery.


Quote: Can the word be pinned down to either one period or one church? All churches are, of course, only more or less unsuccessful attempts to represent the unseen to the mind. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

Can the word be pinned down to either one period or one church? All churches are, of course, only more or less unsuccessful attempts to represent the unseen to the mind.


Quote: I have learned to know God. I have recast my social belief... All my admirers are married; most of my friends are dead; and I stand with all the world before me, where to choose a path to make in it. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

I have learned to know God. I have recast my social belief... All my admirers are married; most of my friends are dead; and I stand with all the world before me, where to choose a path to make in it.


Quote: I was very limited as a women. Getting the men in the military to see that the medical facilities were unhealthy was very difficult, along with many other things such as getting a good education and also finding a good career. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

I was very limited as a women. Getting the men in the military to see that the medical facilities were unhealthy was very difficult, along with many other things such as getting a good education and also finding a good career.


Quote: People have founded vast schemes upon a very few words. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

People have founded vast schemes upon a very few words.


Quote: The specific disease doctrine is the grand refuge of weak, uncultured, unstable minds, such as now rule in the medical profession. There are no specific diseases; there are specific disease conditions. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

The specific disease doctrine is the grand refuge of weak, uncultured, unstable minds, such as now rule in the medical profession. There are no specific diseases; there are specific disease conditions.


Quote: Christ, if he had been a woman, might have been nothing but a great complainer. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

Christ, if he had been a woman, might have been nothing but a great complainer.


Quote: The great reformers of the world turn into the great misanthropists, if circumstances or organization do not permit them to act. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

The great reformers of the world turn into the great misanthropists, if circumstances or organization do not permit them to act.




Quote: Averages ... seduce us away from minute observation. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

Averages ... seduce us away from minute observation.


Quote: Moral activity? There is scarcely such a thing possible! Everything is sketchy. The world does nothing but sketch. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

Moral activity? There is scarcely such a thing possible! Everything is sketchy. The world does nothing but sketch.


Quote: For what is Mysticism? It is not the attempt to draw near to God, not by rites or ceremonies, but by inward disposition? Is it not merely a hard word for 'The Kingdom of Heaven is within'? Heaven is neither a place nor a time. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

For what is Mysticism? It is not the attempt to draw near to God, not by rites or ceremonies, but by inward disposition? Is it not merely a hard word for 'The Kingdom of Heaven is within'? Heaven is neither a place nor a time.


Quote: Perhaps, if prematurely we dismiss ourselves from this world, all may even have to be suffered through again -- the premature birth may not contribute to the production of another being, which must be begun again from the beginning. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

Perhaps, if prematurely we dismiss ourselves from this world, all may even have to be suffered through again -- the premature birth may not contribute to the production of another being, which must be begun again from the beginning.


Quote: To understand God's thoughts, one must study statistics, for these are the measure of His purpose. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

To understand God's thoughts, one must study statistics, for these are the measure of His purpose.


Quote: 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. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of Florence Nightingale quote: 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.- black text on quotes background

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.


Quote: At present we live to impede each other's satisfactions; competition, domestic life, society, what is it all but this? by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

At present we live to impede each other's satisfactions; competition, domestic life, society, what is it all but this?


Quote: 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. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of Florence Nightingale quote; white text on black background

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.




Quote: The first possibility of rural cleanliness lies in water supply. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

The first possibility of rural cleanliness lies in water supply.


Quote: The night is given to us to take breath, to pray, to drink deep at the fountain of power. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

The night is given to us to take breath, to pray, to drink deep at the fountain of power.


Quote: For the sick it is important to have the best. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

For the sick it is important to have the best.


Quote: You must go to Mahometanism, to Buddhism, to the East, to the Sufis Fakirs, to Pantheism, for the right growth of mysticism. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

You must go to Mahometanism, to Buddhism, to the East, to the Sufis Fakirs, to Pantheism, for the right growth of mysticism.


Quote: Passion, intellect, moral activity -- these three have never been satisfied in a woman. In this cold and oppressive conventional atmosphere, they cannot be satisfied. To say more on this subject would be to enter into the whole history of society, of the present state of civilisation. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of Florence Nightingale quote: Passion, intellect, moral activity -- these three have never been satisfied in a woman. In this cold and oppressive conventional atmosphere, they cannot be satisfied. To say more on this subject would be to enter into the whole history of society, of the present state of civilisation.- black text on quotes background

Passion, intellect, moral activity -- these three have never been satisfied in a woman. In this cold and oppressive conventional atmosphere, they cannot be satisfied. To say more on this subject would be to enter into the whole history of society, of the present state of civilisation.


Quote: There is no part of my life, upon which I can look back without pain. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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


Quote: Our first journey is to find that special place for us. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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


Quote: Rather, ten times, die in the surf, heralding the way to a new world, than stand idly on the shore. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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


Quote: I use the word nursing for want of a better. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

I use the word nursing for want of a better.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

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.


Quote: I am not yet worthy; and I will live to deserve to be called a Trained Nurse. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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


Quote: Nursing is a progressive art such that to stand still is to go backwards. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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


Quote: Never give nor take an excuse. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

Never give nor take an excuse.


Quote: Unless we are making progress in our nursing every year, every month, every week, take my word for it we are going back. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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


Quote: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle How very little can be done under the spirit of fear. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.


Quote: Bismarck was a large persian cat owned by Florence Nightingale. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

Bismarck was a large persian cat owned by Florence Nightingale.


Quote: I never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

I never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

I 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.


Quote: 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. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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.


Quote: Never to allow a patient to be waked, intentionally or accidentally, is a sine qua non of all good nursing. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

Never to allow a patient to be waked, intentionally or accidentally, is a sine qua non of all good nursing.


Quote: 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. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of Florence Nightingale quote: 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.- black text on quotes background

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.


Quote: A nurse is to maintain the air within the room as fresh as the air without, without lowering the temperature. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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




Quote: All disease, at some period or other of its course, is more or less a reparative process, not necessarily accompanied with suffering: an effort of nature to remedy a process of poisoning or of decay, which has taken place weeks, months, sometimes years beforehand, unnoticed. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of Florence Nightingale quote; white text on black background

All disease, at some period or other of its course, is more or less a reparative process, not necessarily accompanied with suffering: an effort of nature to remedy a process of poisoning or of decay, which has taken place weeks, months, sometimes years beforehand, unnoticed.




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. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with 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.


Quote: Nursing is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

Nursing is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts.


Quote: The most important practical lesson than can be given to nurses is to teach them what to observe. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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

Longer Version/[Notes]:

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.


Quote: 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. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

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.


Quote: The very first requirement in a hospital is that it should do the sick no harm. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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


Quote: 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 author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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.


Quote: Do not meet or overtake a patient who is moving about in order to speak to him or to give him any message or letter. You might just as well give him a box on the ear. I have seen a patient fall flat on the ground who was standing when his nurse came into the room. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

Do not meet or overtake a patient who is moving about in order to speak to him or to give him any message or letter. You might just as well give him a box on the ear. I have seen a patient fall flat on the ground who was standing when his nurse came into the room.


Quote: 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. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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.


Quote: 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. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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.


Quote: 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. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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.


Quote: 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. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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.


Quote: I think one's feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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


Quote: Women have no sympathy and my experience of women is almost as large as Europe. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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


Quote: 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. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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.


Quote: 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. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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.


Quote: Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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


Quote: How very little can be done under the spirit of fear. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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


Quote: 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. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of Florence Nightingale quote; white text on black background

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.


Quote: God spoke to me and called me to His Service. What form this service was to take the voice did not say. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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


Quote: 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. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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.


Quote: The greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

The greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel.


Quote: 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. by author Florence Nightingale overlaid on photo of photo of author Florence Nightingale with quote

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.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

Live your life while you have it. Life is a splendid gift. There is nothing small in 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.


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