100 Entertaining & Inspiring Quotes for Nurses


June 14th, 2010

Nursing can be a challenging profession, and whether you’re a student or a seasoned veteran, sometimes you just need a little pick-me-up to help you keep going. Here are 100 quotes all about nursing, medicine and patient care that can help inspire you or make you laugh and make your day a little brighter.

Inspiration and Motivation

Look to these quotes for inspiration and motivation to keep you going through even the most difficult day.

  1. Mother Theresa: It is not how much you do but how much love you put in the doing.
  2. Homer: The charity is a trifle to us can be precious to others.
  3. Clara Barton: The door that nobody else will go in at, seems always to swing open widely for me.
  4. Lynn Keegan: Nurses have come a long way in a few short decades. In the past our attention focused on physical, mental and emotional healing. Now we talk of healing your life, healing the environment and healing the planet.
  5. Clara Barton: I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them.
  6. Clara Barton: I have an almost complete disregard of precedent, and a faith in the possibility of something better. It irritates me to be told how things have always been done. I defy the tyranny of precedent. I go for anything new that might improve the past.
  7. Maya Angelou: They may forget your name but they will never forget how you made them feel.
  8. Anatole France: To accomplish great things, you must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe.
  9. Benjamin Franklin: Genius without education is like silver in the mine.
  10. Mark Twain: It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.
  11. Florence Nightingale: I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results.
  12. Orison Swett Marden: There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow.
  13. The Bible: A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
  14. Dr. Carl Sagan: Advances in medicine and agriculture have saved vastly more lives than have been lost in all the wars in history.
  15. Miguel de Cervantes: God who sends the wound sends the medicine.
  16. Leon J. Suenes: Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.
  17. Epictetus: First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.
  18. Aristotle: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.
  19. Robert Frost: The best way out is always through.
  20. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Knowing is not enough; we must apply .Willing is not enough; we must do.
  21. Washington Irving: There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.
  22. Elizabeth Kenney: It is better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.
  23. Florence Nightingale: I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuse.


As a nurse, you’ll often need to work with others and maybe even lead them. These quotes provide tips and advice for being a great leader.

  1. Dwight D. Eisenhower: Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
  2. General Douglas MacArthur: A general is just as good or just as bad as the troops under his command make him.
  3. John Quincy Adams: If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
  4. Friedrich Nietzsche: To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult.
  5. Sophocles: What you cannot enforce, do not command.
  6. Robert Burton: I light my candle from their torches.
  7. George S. Patton: Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
  8. Publilius Syrus: Any one can hold the helm when the sea is calm.
  9. Napoleon Bonaparte: A leader is a dealer in hope.
  10. Ovid: A ruler should be slow to punish and swift to reward.

About Nurses

See what these great leaders and thinkers had to say about nurses in these quotes.

  1. Dag Hammarskjold: Constant attention by a good nurse may be just as important as a major operation by a surgeon.
  2. William Osler: The trained nurse has become one of the great blessings of humanity, taking a place beside the physician and the priest.
  3. Val Saintsbury: Nurses dispense comfort, compassion, and caring without even a prescription.
  4. Sharon Hudacek: Bound by paperwork, short on hands, sleep, and energy… nurses are rarely short on caring.
  5. Sara Moss-Wolfe: Nurses: one of the few blessings of being ill.
  6. Anonymous: If love can’t cure it, nurses can.
  7. Carrie Latet: A nurse will always give us hope, an angel with a stethoscope.
  8. Stephen Ambrose: It would not be possible to praise nurses too highly.
  9. Henry Ward Beecher: God appoints our graces to be nurses to other men’s weaknesses.
  10. Florence Nightingale: The most important practical lesson than can be given to nurses is to teach them what to observe
  11. Rawsi Williams: To do what nobody else will do, a way that nobody else can do, in spite of all we go through; is to be a nurse
  12. Lois Capps: Nurses serve their patients in the most important capacities. We know that they serve as our first lines of communication when something goes wrong or when we are concerned about health.
  13. Elizabeth Kenny: Panic plays no part in the training of a nurse.
  14. Anonymous: Nurses may not be angels but they are the next best thing.
  15. Gary Veale: Whether a person is a male or female, a nurse is a nurse.
  16. Carolyn Jarvis: The character of the nurse is as important as the knowledge she possesses.

On Nursing

These quotes offer some insight into the profession of nursing.

  1. 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.
  2. Jean Watson: Caring is the essence of nursing.
  3. Myrtle Aydelotte: Nursing encompasses an art, a humanistic orientation, a feeling for the value of the individual, and an intuitive sense of ethics, and of the appropriateness of action taken.
  4. Florence Nightingale: Unless we are making progress in our nursing every year, every month, every week, take my word for it we are going back.
  5. Erin Pettengill: We often think of nursing as giving meds on time, checking an X-ray to see if the doctor needs to be called, or taking an admission at 2:00 a.m. with a smile on our faces. Too often, we forget all the other things that make our job what it truly is: caring and having a desire to make a difference.
  6. Christine Belle: Our job as nurses is to cushion the sorrow and celebrate the joy, everyday, while we are “just doing our jobs.”
  7. Elizabeth Kenny: He who angers you conquers you.

On Compassion

These quotes will inspire you to be a more compassionate nurse.

  1. Georg Brandes: A love for humanity came over me, and watered and fertilised the fields of my inner world which had been lying fallow, and this love of humanity vented itself in a vast compassion.
  2. Terry Waite: At the end of the day, love and compassion will win.
  3. Chogyam Trungpa: Compassion automatically invites you to relate with people because you no longer regard people as a drain on your energy.
  4. Mason Cooley: Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves.
  5. Joseph Butler: Compassion is a call, a demand of nature, to relieve the unhappy as hunger is a natural call for food.
  6. Simone Weil: Difficult as it is really to listen to someone in affliction, it is just as difficult for him to know that compassion is listening to him.
  7. Albert Schweitzer: I can do no other than to have compassion for all that is called life. That is the beginning and the foundation of all ethics.
  8. Dalai Lama: If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
  9. Anne McCaffrey: Make no judgments where you have no compassion.
  10. Simone de Beauvoir: One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion.

On Health and Medicine

These quotes deal with the larger health care and medical field.

  1. Sally P. Karioth: A good doctor is one who’ll say, ‘I have no idea what’s going on with this patient. Come help me figure it out.’
  2. Robert Skeist: I like when patients tell me that they understand their conditions and meds better and that now they’re optimistic about their health.
  3. Henri Amiel: There is no curing a sick man who believes himself to be in health.
  4. Norman Cousins: Drugs are not always necessary. Belief in recovery always is.
  5. Bill Frist: America has the best doctors, the best nurses, the best hospitals, the best medical technology, the best medical breakthrough medicines in the world. There is absolutely no reason we should not have in this country the best health care in the world.
  6. John Hutton: For too long nurses have been undervalued, restricted in what they could do, with too few career opportunities in clinical practice. For far too long, nurses have endured a pay system that has held them back – both professionally as well as financially.
  7. Lois Capps: Studies have indicated there is a strong correlation between the shortages of nurses and morbidity and mortality rates in our hospitals.
  8. Florence Nightingale: Apprehension, uncertainty, waiting, expectation, fear of surprise, do a patient more harm than any exertion.
  9. Ovid: Medicine sometimes snatches away health, sometimes gives it.
  10. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: We have to ask ourselves whether medicine is to remain a humanitarian and respected profession or a new but depersonalized science in the service of prolonging life rather than diminishing human suffering.
  11. James Bryce: Medicine, the only profession that labors incessantly to destroy the reason for its existence.

Communication and People

Nursing is a career that requires you to work closely with people from all walks of life. Learn to better work with and speak to them with advice from these quotes.

  1. Lord Chesterfield: You must look into other people as well as at them.
  2. Saint Basil: A good deed is never lost: he who sows courtesy reaps friendship; and he who plants kindness gathers love.
  3. Publius Syrus: Look to be treated by others as you have treated others.
  4. William Thackeray: Never lose a chance of saying a kind word.
  5. Thomas Campbell: The soul of conversation is sympathy.
  6. John Tillotson: A good word is an easy obligation; but not to speak ill requires only our silence; which costs us nothing.
  7. Francois de La Rochefoucauld: We never listen when we are eager to speak.
  8. Seneca the Younger: The great thing is to know when to speak and when to keep quiet.
  9. George Bernard Shaw: The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
  10. Anthony Robbins: To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.
  11. Anthony Robbins: The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.
  12. John Kotter: Good communication does not mean that you have to speak in perfectly formed sentences and paragraphs. It isn’t about slickness. Simple and clear go a long way.


For those just in need for a good laugh, read through these quotes.

  1. Gerhard Kocher: Nursing would be a dream job if there were no doctors.
  2. Anonymous: Nurses are I.V. Leaguers.
  3. W.C. Fields: After two days in the hospital, I took a turn for the nurse.
  4. Cass Canfield: Some people think that doctors and nurses can put scrambled eggs back in the shell.
  5. 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.
  6. Finley Peter Dunne: If Christian scientists had more science and doctors more Christianity, it wouldn’t make any difference which you called in – if you had a good nurse.
  7. James M. Hunter: Treat the patient, not the X-ray.
  8. Warren Beatty: How can anybody hate nurses? Nobody hates nurses. The only time you hate a nurse is when they’re giving you an enema.
  9. Anonymous: Confucius say: Man who want pretty nurse, must be patient.
  10. W.H. Auden: Health is the state about which medicine has nothing to say.
  11. Florence Nightingale: It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a hospital that it should do the sick no harm.

One Response to “100 Entertaining & Inspiring Quotes for Nurses”

  1. 100 Blog Posts That Will Make You a Better Nurse | Nursing Schools.net Says:
    June 29th, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    […] 100 Entertaining & Inspiring Quotes for Nurses: No matter what kind of day you’re having at work, these posts will inspire and make you smile. […]

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