107+ Best Florence Nightingale Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Florence Nightingale, OM, RRC, DStJ was an English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. Profoundly inspirational Florence Nightingale quotes will make you look at life differently and help you live a meaningful life.

Famous Florence Nightingale Quotes

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

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. – Florence Nightingale

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

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. – Florence Nightingale

Apprehension, uncertainty, waiting, expectation, fear of surprise, do a patient more harm than any exertion. – 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 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. – Florence Nightingale

Statistics is the most important science in the whole world: for upon it depends the practical application of every other science and of every art: the one science essential to all political and social administration, all education, all organization based on experience, for it only gives results of our experience. – Florence Nightingale

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. – 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

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. – Florence Nightingale

We know nothing of the principle of health, the positive of which pathology is the negative, except from observation and experience. 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; medicine is the surgery of functions as surgery proper is that of limbs and organs. – Florence Nightingale

Sublime in the highest style of intellectual beauty, intellect without effort, without suffering… not a feature is correct – but the whole effect is more expressive of spiritual grandeur than anything I could have imagined. It makes the impression upon one that thousands of voices do, uniting in one unanimous simultaneous feeling of enthusiasm or emotion, which is said to overcome the strongest man. – 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

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

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 civilization. – Florence Nightingale

The true foundation of theology is to ascertain the character of God. It is by the aid of Statistics that law in the social sphere can be ascertained and codified, and certain aspects of the character of God thereby revealed. The study of statistics is thus a religious service. – 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

When you see the natural and almost universal craving in English sick for their ‘tea,’ you cannot but feel that nature knows what she is about. … A little tea or coffee restores them. … There is nothing yet discovered which is a substitute to the English patient for his cup of tea. – 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

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. – Florence Nightingale

diseases, as all experience shows, are adjectives, not noun substantives. – Florence Nightingale

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. – Florence Nightingale

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

When shall we see a life full of steady enthusiasm, walking straight to its aim, flying home, as that bird is now, against the wind – with the calmness and the confidence of one who knows the laws of God and can apply them? – 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

The first possibility of rural cleanliness lies in water supply. – Florence Nightingale

Heaven is neither a place nor a time. – Florence Nightingale

Variety of form and brilliancy of color in the objects presented to patients are actual means of recovery. – Florence Nightingale

Newton’s law is nothing but the statistics of gravitation, it has no power whatever. Let us get rid of the idea of power from law altogether. Call law tabulation of facts, expression of facts, or what you will; anything rather than suppose that it either explains or compels. – Florence Nightingale

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

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. – 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

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

For the sick it is important to have the best. – Florence Nightingale

Mysticism: to dwell on the unseen, to withdraw ourselves from the things of sense into communion with God – to endeavor to partake of the Divine nature; that is, of Holiness. – Florence Nightingale

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

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

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

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

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. – 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

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

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. – Florence Nightingale

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

That Religion is not devotion but work and suffering for the love of God; this is the true doctrine of Mystics. – Florence Nightingale

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

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. – Florence Nightingale

The family uses people, not for what they are, nor for what they are intended to be, but for what it wants them for- its own uses. It thinks of them not as what God has made them, but as the something which it has arranged that they shall be. – Florence Nightingale

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

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

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

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. – Florence Nightingale

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

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

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

Never underestimate the healing effects of beauty. – 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

The next Christ will perhaps be a female Christ. – Florence Nightingale

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

Never give nor take an excuse. – Florence Nightingale

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

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

To understand God’s thoughts, one must study statistics, for these are the measure of His purpose. – Florence Nightingale

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

The ‘kingdom of heaven is within,’ indeed, but we must also create one without, because we are intended to act upon our circumstances. – Florence Nightingale

Jesus Christ raised women above the condition of mere slaves, mere ministers to the passions of the man, raised them by His sympathy, to be Ministers of God. – Florence Nightingale

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

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

To understand God’s thoughts we must study statistics, for these are the measure of His purpose – 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

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. – Florence Nightingale

Poetry and imagination begin life. A child will fall on its knees on the gravel walk at the sight of a pink hawthorn in full flower, when it is by itself, to praise God for it. – Florence Nightingale

do not engage in any paper wars. You will convince nobody and arrive at no satisfaction yourself. – Florence Nightingale

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

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

Women dream till they have no longer the strength to dream; those dreams against which they so struggle, so honestly, vigorously, and conscientiously, and so in vain, yet which are their life, without which they could not have lived; those dreams go at last. – Florence Nightingale

A want of the habit of observing and an inveterate habit of taking averages are each of them often equally misleading. – Florence Nightingale

Christ, if he had been a woman, might have been nothing but a great complainer – Florence Nightingale

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

Bismarck was a large persian cat owned by Florence Nightingale. – Florence Nightingale

A girl, if she has any pride, is so ashamed of having anything she wishes to say out of the hearing of her own family, she thinks it must be something so very wrong, that it is ten to one, if she have the opportunity of saying it, that she will not. – Florence Nightingale

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. – Florence Nightingale

Macaulay somewhere says, that it is extraordinary that, whereas the laws of the motions of the heavenly bodies, far removed as they are from us, are perfectly well understood, the laws of the human mind, which are under our observation all day and every day, are no better understood than they were two thousand years ago. – Florence Nightingale

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

I can stand out the war with any man. – Florence Nightingale

I can expect no sympathy or help from my family. – Florence Nightingale

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. – 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

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

Let people who have to observe sickness and death look back and try to register in their observation the appearances which have preceded relapse, attack or death, and not assert that there were none, or that there were not the right ones. A want of the habit of observing conditions and an inveterate habit of taking averages are each of them often equally misleading. – Florence Nightingale

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. – Florence Nightingale

Women never have a half-hour in all their lives (excepting before or after anybody is up in the house) that they can call their own, without fear of offending or of hurting someone. 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.’ 1852 – Florence Nightingale

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. – Florence Nightingale

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

In a sick-room or a bed-room there should never be shutters shut. – Florence Nightingale

Marriage is the only chance (and it is but a chance) offered to women for escape from this death and how eagerly and how ignorantly it is embraced. – Florence Nightingale

Hospitals are only an intermediate stage of civilization – Florence Nightingale

Law is no explanation of anything; law is simply a generalization, a category of facts. Law is neither a cause, nor a reason, nor a power, nor a coercive force. It is nothing but a general formula, a statistical table. – Florence Nightingale

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

Why have women passion, intellect, moral activity these, three and a place in society where no one of the three can be exercised? – Florence Nightingale

The account he gives of nurses beats everything that even I know of. This young prophet says that they are all drunkards, without exception, Sisters and all, and that there are but two whom the surgeon can trust to give the patients their medicines. – Florence Nightingale

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