10 Famous Nursing Quotes

Nov 3, 2020 | Aussie Nurse

A sharing of a quote in conversation can make us think more deeper about a subject and sometimes we may even choose to live by a quote that is inspirational to us.
Here are 10 quotes that are from a wonderful range of people that may be inspirational to nurses-


1. “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, (1820-1910) British. Florence was a statistician and the founder of modern nursing. During the Crimean War Nightingale organised care and helped with a team of nurses to serve wounded soldiers. Nightingale is famously known as “The Lady with the Lamp” as she would do rounds of the wounded soldiers at night.

2. “Beside the nettle, ever grows the cure for its sting”

Mary Seacole (1805 – 1881) British-Jamaican Nurse. Mary was a nurse and healer who travelled to many countries by self funding which included going to the Crimean War to set up the “British Hotel” which were quarters for the sick. Mary  provided care for wounded service man on the battlefield, also Mary learnt how to use traditional Jamaican medicines from her mother in Kingston, Jamaica.



3. “To do what nobody else will do, in a way that nobody else can, in spite of all we go through; is to be a nurse”

Rawsi Williams (Current) – American Nurse and Attorney. Rawsi is a prominent high-profile attorney who is a U.S. Army veteran with many years of healthcare experience. 



4. “Laughter is a very underrated tool for healing” 

Bronnie Ware (Current) – Australian Carer. Bronnie wrote a bestselling memoir called ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying’, she wrote this after working as a carer in a palliative care setting. Bronnie built relationships with people who were at the end stage of their life and she found living a life free of regret is a something we can choose.



5. “Nurses dispense comfort, compassion and caring without even a prescription”

Val Saintsbury – Unknown. This quote represents nursing beautifully but I cannot find any details about the author.



6. “The nurse is temporarily the consciousness of the unconscious, the love of life of the suicidal, the leg of the amputee, the eyes of the newly blind, a means of locomotion for the newborn , knowledge and confidence for the young mother, a voice for those too weak to speak, and so on”

Virginia Henderson (1897 – 1996) – American Nurse.  Virginia was a nurse, theorist, and author known for her Need Theory – she was famous for defining nursing as- 

“The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge” 



7. “They have all been very kind to me here. But this I would say, standing as I do in view of God and eternity, I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone”

Edith Cavell (1865-1915) British Nurse. Edith was working in German-occupied Belgium during the First World War, she helped hundreds of British, French and Belgian soldiers escape the Germans. In 1915 she was arrested, tried and executed, the above quote is thought to be said the night before her execution.



8. “A measure of victory has been won, and honours have been bestowed in token thereof. But honours fade or are forgotten, and monuments crumble into dust. It is the battle itself that matters – and the battle must go on”

Elizabeth Kenny (1880 – 1952) Australian Nurse. Elizabeth was a self-trained Australian bush nurse who developed a new way to treat victims of poliomyelitis, it was controversial at the time. Kenny applied hot compresses to patients bodies with passive movement to areas affected to reduce what she called “Spasm”. Kenny’s principles of muscle rehabilitation became the foundation of physical therapy/physiotherapy.



9. “As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind, soul and body of our patients, their families and ourselves. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel”

 Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American author, poet and civil rights activist. Maya was an American poet and civil rights activist, her life was outstanding, complicated and vast. Maya was not a nurse but her mother was and her way of understanding a nurse was amazing.



10. “Nursing has made great progress from being an occupation to becoming a profession in the 20th. Century. As the 21st. Century approaches, further progress will be reported and recorded in Cyberspace – the Internet being one conduit for that. Linking nurses and their information and knowledge across borders – around the world – will surely advance the profession of nursing much more rapidly in the next century”

 Hildegard Peplau (1909 – 1999) American Nurse. Hildegard is known to many as the “Mother of Psychiatric Nursing”, she has had a great influence within the practice and profession of nursing. Hildegard created the Theory of Interpersonal Relations which defined nursing as –

“An interpersonal process of therapeutic interactions between an individual who is sick or in need of health services and a nurse especially educated to recognise, respond to the need for help.”


  • Hildegard Peplau: Interpersonal Relations Theory (blog)-  https://nurseslabs.com/hildegard-peplaus-interpersonal-relations-theory/

(Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash)

Thanks For Reading – Aussie Nurse

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