Nursing can be a tough profession! Between the long hours, challenging staffing ratios, physical demands, and acutely ill patients it’s always important to take a breather and center yourself. Use the advice and wise words of your nursing peers and mentors. Below you will find a collection of quotes from some of the great nurse champions that we hope will bring you comfort, inspiration, and maybe a smile or two!
Inspirational Quotes for Nurses
Perhaps the most famous nurse, Florence Nightingale or “the Lady with the Lamp” made incredible contributions to the profession of nursing during the Crimean War by improving care, cleanliness, and collecting and analyzing data.
- “How very little can be done in the spirit of fear.”
- “I contribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuse.”
- “Live life when you have it. Life is a splendid gift – there is nothing small about it.”
- “Let us never consider ourselves finished nurses…we must be learning all of our lives.”
- “Ignite the mind’s spark to rise the sun in you.”
- “Nursing is such a progressive art such that to stand still is to go backward.”
Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was a self-taught nurse that would collect and deliver supplies and care to soldiers during the American Civil War. Known as “the Angel of the Battlefield” Clara assisted soldiers from both sides of the war and would work to exhaustion for days at a time to help the ill and wounded.
- “I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing, but if paid at all, I shall never do a man’s work for less than a man’s pay.”
- “Though it is little that one woman can do, still I crave the privilege of doing it.”
- “When I reached [home] and looked in the mirror, my face was still the color of gunpowder, a deep blue. Oh yes I went to the front”
- “I only wish I could work to some purpose.”
Although often described as an activist, Dorothea Dix shaped the nursing profession by advocating for the mentally ill and indigenous people in the early 19th century. She became the Superintendent of Army Nurses for the Union Army and enhanced nursing recruitment and training efforts during the Civil War.
- “Every evil has its good and every ill an antidote.”
- “Of all the calamities to which humanity is subject, none is so dreadful as insanity…All experience shows that insanity seasonably treated is as certainly curable as a cold or fever.”
- “Man is not made better by being degraded”
- “I come as the advocate of helpless, forgotten, insane men and women; of beings sunk to a condition from which the unconcerned world would start with real horror.”
Expert advice from nurses like you
Funny Nursing Quotes
Most nurses admit to having a darker sense of humor. When the daily grind gets stressful, it’s important to find the levity in a situation. Bringing humor to the workplace can be a great way to relieve stress and provide a temporary distraction for both yourself and your peers.
Take a look at the quotes below – do any of these sound familiar? It’s not uncommon to see funny memes or quotes on display in a nurse’s station or break room.
- “Do you want to speak to the doctor in charge? Or the nurse who actually knows what’s going on?”
- “Nurses…here to save your butt, not kiss it!”
- “Nursing school is a lot like giving birth…once it’s over you tend to forget just how painful the process really was.”
- “I avoid unhealthy looking people at the mall for fear that I may have to perform CPR on my day off.”
- “Be nice to me; I dispense the happy pills.”
- “I am a nurse. Let me tell you what I am not. Your waitress. Your servant. Your drug dealer. Your punching bag.”
- “Nurse…kind of like a doctor but nicer.”
Advice Quotes for Nurses
As a nurse, sometimes you need to be reminded of why you do what you do. You work hard. You put up with a lot. It can be easy to forget how important you are to the life of every patient you treat. Never forget that you are a hero!
- “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “Our fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we touch.” – Judy Blume
- “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” — Mother Teresa
- “Constant attention by a good nurse may be just as important as a major operation by a surgeon.” — Dag Hammarskjold
Whether looking for inspiration, advice, or just a laugh – the words of your peers can make a big difference on your journey as a nurse. Remember that you are not alone and there are lessons and insights to be found from those in the nursing community. We hope you have found some new nursing quotes to add to your collection today!
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- “Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Museum.” clarabartonmuseum.org. Accessed May 19th, 2022.
- “Dorothea Dix.” womenshistory.org. Accessed May 19th, 2022.
- “Dorothea Dix Quotes and Sayings.” inspiringquotes.us. Accessed May 19th, 2022.
- “Florence Nightingale Quotes on Life, Communication, and Nursing.” everydaypower.com. Accessed May 19th, 2022.
- “Quotes About Nurses.” quotemaster.org. Accessed May 22nd, 2022.
- “Share These 100 Uplifting Nurse Quotes to Show Appreciation for Our Frontline Heroes on National Nurses Week.” parade.com. Accessed May 23, 2022.
- Photo by Fabian Møller on Unsplash