20 quotes on nursing and life from the ‘Lady with the Lamp’, Florence Nightingale

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Known as the ‘Lady with the Lamp’, Florence Nightingale revolutionised nursing and reformed hospitals. She dedicated her life to the helpless and miserable. A true heroine for the soldiers during the Crimean War, she hardly slept at night, choosing instead to go on rounds around the hospital just to ensure the wellbeing of the soldiers – the reason for her iconic title. Here are a few quotes on nursing and life from this inspirational nurse:

Image credit: Wikipedia
  1. “Mankind must make heaven before we can ‘go to heaven’ (as the phrase is), in this world as in any other.”
  2. “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.”
  3. “There is a physical, not moral, impossibility of supplying the wants of the intellect in the state of civilisation at which we have arrived.”
  4. “There is no part of my life, upon which I can look back without pain.”
  5. “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.”
  6. Live life when you have it. Life is a splendid gift-there is nothing small about it.”
  7. “Rather, ten times, die in the surf, heralding the way to a new world, than stand idly on the shore.”
  8. “How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.”
  9. “I attribute mysuccess to this – I never gave or took any excuse.”
  10. “Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better.”
  11. “The world is put back by the death of every one who has to sacrifice the development of his or her peculiargifts to conventionality.”
  12. “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.”
  13. “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.”
  14. “Everything is sketchy. The world does nothing but sketch.”
  15. “I think one’sfeelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results.”
  16. “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.”
  17. “If you knew how unreasonably sick people suffer from reasonable causes of distress, you would take more pains about all these things.”
  18. “The very first requirement in a hospital is that it should do patients no harm.”
  19. “So never lose anopportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself.”
  20. “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.”


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