To honor the remembrance and intelligence of nurses past, present and future we have compiled this short collection of famous female nurse quotes in the history of nursing. We can use these specific quotes to gain insight into the mind of a nurse and this will help us better understand the nurse as a person.

Lets start by examining the depth and complexity of this Clara Barton quote from the late 1800s. The well-known American Civil War nurse stated, “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”. This insightful quote shows the nurse mentality of the late 1800s in which revolutionary nurses such as Clara Barton and Florence Nightingale changed the nursing profession dramatically with their strong convictions. Nurses no longer wanted to accept things the way they were, instead they wanted to learn from past mistakes and improve the future of nursing.

Clara Barton Florence Nightingale

A second very influential quote that illustrates the mind state of the late 19th century nurse is the following statement by Florence Nightingale, “I think ones feelings waste themselves in words; they ought to be distilled into actions which bring results”. Once again this demonstrates the “no non-sense” attitude of the pioneer nurses of the mid-late 1800s. They did not want to hear about what should be done, they were demanding that actions be taken in the right direction. Florence Nightingale was a major player in the establishment and spread of nursing as a profession. Some of her greatest accomplishments were enacting institutional change across the board. This quote provides insight into the attitude of a strong female nurse and activist leader.

As we move forward we should keep these ideas in the back of our heads and learn from the nursing pioneers of the past. Without strong female nurse role models such as Clara Barton and Florence Nightingale the nursing profession would not be where it is today.