18 Quotes by Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale Quotes: Florence Nightingale 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 organized to care for wounded soldiers at Constantinople. We hope you enjoy our list of Florence Nightingale quotes below.

Common Question about Florence Nightingale

Where was Florence Nightingale from?

Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy, on May 12, 1820, and was named after her birthplace, where her parents were spending their honeymoon.

What was Florence Nightingale’s most notable written work?

In 1859 Florence Nightingale published her book Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not, a step-by-step guide explaining her methods for attending to the sick.

What were Florence Nightingale’s religious beliefs?

Raised in a liberal Unitarian household, Florence Nightingale claimed to have had “calls from God” beginning at the age of 16, driving her toward alleviating people’s pain through nursing.

Our Favorite Florence Nightingale Quotes

“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 an excuse.”

“You ask me why I do not write something.... I think one's feelings waste themselves in words, they ought all to be distilled into actions and into actions which bring results.”

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

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

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

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

“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.”

“To understand God's thoughts we must study statistics, for these are the measure of his purpose.”

“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.”

“To be "in charge" is certainly not only to carry out the proper measures yourself but to see that every one else does so too; to see that no one either willfully or ignorantly thwarts or prevents such measures. It is neither to do everything yourself nor to appoint a number of people to each duty, but to ensure that each does that duty to which he is appointed.”

“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.”

“The most important pratical 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.”

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


“Unnecessary noise is the most cruel absence of care that can be inflicted on the sick or the well.”

“It seems a commonly received idea among men and even among women themselves that it requires nothing but a disappointment in love, the want of an object, a general disgust, or incapacity for other things, to turn a woman into a good nurse.

“The martyr sacrifices herself entirely in vain. Or rather not in vain; for she makes the selfish more selfish, the lazy more lazy, the narrow narrower.”

“I must strive to see only God in my friends, and God in my cats.”