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The 30 Best Nursing Quotes for Every Mood

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Nurses have a complex job on the frontlines of medicine, requiring them to be sharp, focused, and empathic all at once. A connection with someone who understands what nurses endure can be heartwarming, motivating, and provide a sense of community, no matter how far away. So, if you want to be inspired, laugh, or seek comfort from a wider network of nurses, here are 30 quotes from people who truly get or appreciate what you’re going through.

Famous Nursing Quotes

There are famous nurses, famous TV and movie nurses, and then there are the famous people who have inspired nurses. Here’s a mix of famous quotes, all applicable to the nursing industry.

  • “The martyr sacrifices themselves entirely in vain. Or rather not in vain; for they make the selfish more selfish, the lazy more lazy, the narrow narrower.” – Florence Nightingale
  • “The trained nurse has become one of the great blessings of humanity, taking a place beside the physician and the priest….” – William Osler, part founder of Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • “I've been doin' this job for 17 years, honey. Doctors come and go, but nurses make this place run. We don't get much credit or pay. We see a lot of misery, a lot of dyin', but we come back every day. I've given up bein' appreciated, but I sure as hell won't let any of us be taken for granted.” – Nurse Haleh Adams from “ER”
  • “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
  • “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Life’s most important and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “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

Funny Nursing Quotes

Sometimes humor can get us through the toughest days — and the toughest shifts. Here are some of the funniest nursing quotes to boost your mood.

  • “I have restraints and Ativan, and I'm not afraid to use them.” – Deborah Barnes, RN
  • “I'd be an AMAZING nurse if I didn't have to chart. #nurseproblems” – @NursePrblems
  • “RN does not mean let me serve you 'refreshments and narcotics.’” – Amy Meltzer, RN
  • “Once a nurse, always a nurse. No matter where you go or what you do, you can never truly get out of nursing. It’s like the Mafia… you know too much.” – Deb Gaudlin, RN
  • “Don’t mess with me. I get paid to poke people with sharp objects.” – Unknown
  • “It’s really nice when patients call me nurse instead of ‘Hey.’” –

Inspirational Nursing Quotes

Sometimes we just need a reminder of why we work so hard, do the paperwork, fight bureaucracy, and balance the difficult work-and-family dance. Sometimes we need some inspirational words to keep us focused on why we go to work every day. Hopefully these inspirational quotes for nurses help you today!

  • “A nurse is one who opens the eyes of a newborn and gently closes the eyes of a dying man. It is indeed a high blessing to be first and last to witness the beginning and end of life.” – Unknown
  • “Nurses dispense comfort, compassion and caring without even a prescription.” – Val Saintsbury
  • “When you’re a nurse, you know that every day you will touch a life or that a life will touch yours.” – Unknown
  • “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
  • “Nursing is not just an art, it has a heart. It is not just a science, but it has a conSCIENCE.” – Unknown
  • “A nurse will always give us hope. An angel with a stethoscope.” – Carrie Latet
  • “I was born to be a nurse: to hold, to aid, to save, to help, to teach, to inspire. It’s who I am. My calling, my passion, my life and my world.” – Unknown

Quotes for Nursing Students

Nursing school can be grueling, even challenging your decision to go into nursing. But at some point, it’s over and you have a degree to prove you not only survived — but you prevailed. Here are some nursing student quotes that can provide motivation in the toughest moments.

  • “Student, you do not study to pass the test. You study to prepare for the day when you are the only thing between a patient and the grave.” – Mark Reid, MD
  • “Be the type of nurse you want to work with.” – Brian Short, RN
  • “Being a nurse isn’t about grades. It’s about being who we are. No book can tell you how to cry with your patient.” – Unknown
  • “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” – Beverly Sills
  • “Nursing school survival rule: If it’s wet and not yours, use gloves.” – Unknown

‘Nurse, Not Doctor’ Quotes

The frustration of people treating nurses as nothing but a doctor’s helper is real. These quotes let you know that the majority of people do know your worth.

  • “Working with a good nurse is one of the great joys of being a doctor.” – Oscar Leonard, MD
  • “Doctors diagnose. Nurses cure.” – Unknown
  • “I’m more than smart enough to be a doctor, but I chose to be a nurse.” – Unknown
  • “Did you want to talk to the doctor in charge or the nurse who knows what’s going on?” – Unknown
  • “Behind every doctor is an even greater nurse.” – Unknown

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Last updated on Oct 15, 2021.

Originally published on Sep 27, 2018.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Berxi™ or Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company. This article (subject to change without notice) is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute professional advice.

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