Anyone who’s gone through nursing school can agree that it takes a lot of grace, knowledge, and humor to make it.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Motivational Nursing School Quotes
- Funny Nursing Quotes
- Inspirational Nursing Quotes
- Nursing Quotes About Hospice or End-of-Life Care
- Quotes from Florence Nightengale on Nursing
- NICU Nursing Quotes
Whether you need a little motivation for yourself or want to pass a few laughs to a loved one, here are some must-read nursing quotes.
Motivational Nursing School Quotes
These quotes will give you the motivation you need to power through the next exam or shift.
1.”It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” — E. E. Cummings, Poet
Choosing the career that’s right for you means knowing your strengths so you can become who you’re meant to be.
2. “Nurses are a unique kind. They have this insatiable need to care for others, which is both their biggest strength and fatal flaw.” — Dr. Jean Watson, nurse Theorist and professor
Nurses must care for other people — which makes them excellent… well, nurses!
3. “The trained nurse has become one of the great blessings of humanity, taking a place beside the physician and the priest.” — Dr. William Osler, Canadian Physician and Founder of Johns Hopkins
All the healthcare books in the world can’t teach compassion — nurses must naturally have it inside themselves.
4. “The character of the nurse is as important as the knowledge she possesses.” — Carolyn Jarvis, Professor of Nursing at Illinois Wesleyan
Knowledge isn’t everything — character and empathy are so important, too.
5. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” — Thomas Edison, Inventor
Edison is living proof that success can be just right around the corner!
Funny Nursing Quotes
A little humor provides some powerful inspiration. Here are some nursing quotes to make you laugh.
6. “How can anybody hate nurses? Nobody hates nurses. The only time you hate a nurse is when they’re giving you an enema.” — Warren Beatty, Actor
Nurses can be on the receiving end of certain negative comments — especially when patients are on the cranky side!
7. “Nursing is not a career… it’s a post-apocalyptic survival skill.” — Unknown
Most days, nursing feels like their career is a little bit of both.
8. “Nursing school is a lot like giving birth… once it’s over, you just tend to forget just how painful the process really was.” — Unknown
You might not forget the all-nighters and cramming for finals — but looking back on it, wasn’t it fun?
9. “Constant attention by a good nurse may be just as important as a major operation by a surgeon.” — Dag Hammarskjöld, Swedish Diplomat and Economist
Practicing medicine isn’t all high-drama operations like you see on TV. Caring for patients usually involves a lot of mundane work.
10. “I love being a nurse, but I mostly love wearing scrubs. They’re basically professional pajamas.” — Unknown
Ahhh, being able to wear scrubs adds the ultimate comfort factor.
Inspirational Nursing Quotes
A little inspiration might be all you need, so here are some quotes that’ll make you feel good.
11.“Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.” — Les Brown, Author
Nurses choose nursing as a career because they’re passionate about the profession — and passion can open so many doors.
12. “Our job as nurses is to cushion the sorrow and celebrate the job every day while we are just doing our jobs.” — Christine Belle, Nurse
There’s no “ordinary day” for a nurse. Each day can be an emotional rollercoaster and experiencing this sort of career is a rare gift.
13. “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” — Chinese proverb
Nobody can take away your education — that’s the one thing that you can keep all to yourself.
14. “It would not be possible to praise nurses too highly.” — Stephen Ambrose, Author
You may remember Ambrose’s name from high school English class. He wrote “The Red Badge of Courage” about the Civil War.
15. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” — Maya Angelou, Author
Your loved one might feel as if he or she doesn’t have what it takes to be a nurse. But “defeat” and “being defeated” are two very different things.
Nursing Quotes About Hospice or End-of-Life Care
Working in hospice care is all about comfort until the end. That’s a challenging role, particularly because these patients won’t get better.
16.“A nurse will always give us hope, an angel with a stethoscope.” — Carrie Latet, Author
Nurses bring hope when it doesn’t seem like there’s any left.
17. “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.” — Clara Barton, Nurse
Clara Barton was the founder of the American Red Cross.
18. “Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.” — Aristotle, Philosopher
Wise words! Is it any wonder Aristotle was one of the greatest philosophers of all time?
19. “It's not about how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts.” — Mother Teresa, Activist
For many patients experiencing end-of-life care, all nurses can do is be as attentive as possible to everyone in the family.
20. “When I think about all the patients and their loved ones that I have worked with over the years, I know most of them don’t remember me nor I them, but I do know that I gave a little piece of myself to each of them and they to me and those threads make up the beautiful tapestry in my mind that is my career in nursing.” — Donna Wilk Cardillo, Nurse
Each patient carries a piece of this gorgeous tapestry.
Quotes from Florence Nightingale on Nursing
Nightingale is often referred to as the mother of nursing. Nightingale came to prominence as manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War, where she cared for wounded soldiers.
21. “Nursing is one of the fine arts: I had almost said the finest of fine arts.” — Florence Nightingale, Nurse
Nightingale’s nickname was “Lady with the Lamp,” because she attended to her patients during all hours.
22. “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.” — Florence Nightingale, Nurse
Nurses deal with tough patients all the time, but patients aren’t always just difficult to be difficult. They’re fighting big battles of their own.
23. “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.” — Florence Nightingale, Nurse
In some ways, nurses get to shape their roles to what they want them to be.
24. “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.” — Florence Nightingale, Nurse
The mustard seed is a parable in the Bible — it represents the growth of the kingdom of God from small beginnings.
25. “Let us never consider ourselves finished, nurses. We must be learning all of our lives.” — Florence Nightingale, Nurse
That quote says it all.
NICU Nursing Quotes
The NICU is one of the toughest, most rewarding places to be, and nurses are usually the busiest people in the NICU.
26. “A nurse dispenses comfort, compassion, and caring without even a prescription.” — Val Saintsbury, Author
So many illnesses require a prescription to heal. Simple empathy and decency don’t require that!
27. “Life is a gift and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.” — Tony Robbins, Author
There are so many good things in life, and nursing is an opportunity to pass them along to the next person.
28. “You treat a disease: you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you win — no matter the outcome.” — Robin Williams as “Patch Adams”
Nurses can count every treatment as a win if they treat each patient the best way they possibly can — as a person.
29. “Much of life isn’t fair. It’s how you live that matters. It’s how you deal with the bumps in the road.” — Maya Banks, Author
Nurses handle more than their fair share of bumps in the road in their professional careers.
30. “To do what nobody else will do, a way that nobody else can do in spite of all we go through; that is to be a nurse.” — Rawsi Williams, Lawyer
Nurses are some of the most special people on earth.
Support a Nurse
Your own words might not feel like enough. If a loved one is going through a tough time or just needs a little encouragement, quotes are helpful. Tuck them in a card or send a simple text. Nurses do it all — they help people start end-of-life planning and deliver a new baby.
Each day is its own challenge, so a little encouragement is more than welcome.
- Nightingale College. “17 Nursing Quotes We Love and Wanted to Share with Nursing Learners.” n.d., nightingale.edu/blog/17-nursing-quotes-love/
- Chamberlain University. “Top 10 Quotes for Nurses.” 10 August 2012, www.chamberlain.edu/blog/top-10-quotes-for-nurses
- Roseman University. “14 Inspiring Quotes for Nursing Students.” 19 September 2013, acceleratednursing.roseman.edu/blog/inspiring-quotes-for-nursing-students/
- Fortis University. “4 Inspirational Quotes that Nurses Value.” 08 March 2014, www.fortis.edu/blog/nursing/4-inspirational-quotes-that-nurses-value.html
- Advent Health University. “8 Inspirational Quotes About Nurses.” 20 June 2017, online.ahu.edu/blog/8-inspirational-quotes-nurses/