Florence Nightingale quotes

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Florence Nightingale

Birthdate: 12. May 1820
Date of death: 13. August 1910
Other names: Florence Nightingaleová

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Florence Nightingale, was an English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing.

Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War, in which she organised care for wounded soldiers. She gave nursing a favourable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of "The Lady with the Lamp" making rounds of wounded soldiers at night.Recent commentators have asserted Nightingale's Crimean War achievements were exaggerated by media at the time, but critics agree on the importance of her later work in professionalising nursing roles for women. In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in London. It was the first secular nursing school in the world, and is now part of King's College London. In recognition of her pioneering work in nursing, the Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses, and the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve, were named in her honour, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated on her birthday. Her social reforms included improving healthcare for all sections of British society, advocating better hunger relief in India, helping to abolish prostitution laws that were harsh for women, and expanding the acceptable forms of female participation in the workforce.

Nightingale was a prodigious and versatile writer. In her lifetime, much of her published work was concerned with spreading medical knowledge. Some of her tracts were written in simple English so that they could easily be understood by those with poor literary skills. She was also a pioneer in data visualization with the use of infographics, effectively using graphical presentations of statistical data. Much of her writing, including her extensive work on religion and mysticism, has only been published posthumously.

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Quotes Florence Nightingale

„The next Christ will perhaps be a female Christ. But do we see one woman who looks like a female Christ? or even like "the messenger before" her "face", to go before her and prepare the hearts and minds for her?“

—  Florence Nightingale
Cassandra (1860), Context: The great reformers of the world turn into the great misanthropists, if circumstances or organisation do not permit them to act. Christ, if He had been a woman, might have been nothing but a great complainer. Peace be with the misanthropists! They have made a step in progress; the next will make them great philanthropists; they are divided but by a line. The next Christ will perhaps be a female Christ. But do we see one woman who looks like a female Christ? or even like "the messenger before" her "face", to go before her and prepare the hearts and minds for her? To this will be answered that half the inmates of Bedlam begin in this way, by fancying that they are "the Christ." People talk about imitating Christ, and imitate Him in the little trifling formal things, such as washing the feet, saying His prayer, and so on; but if anyone attempts the real imitation of Him, there are no bounds to the outcry with which the presumption of that person is condemned.

„Why have women passion, intellect, moral activity — these three — and a place in society where no one of the three can be exercised?“

—  Florence Nightingale
Cassandra (1860), Context: Why have women passion, intellect, moral activity — these three — and a place in society where no one of the three can be exercised? Men say that God punishes for complaining. No, but men are angry with misery. They are irritated with women for not being happy. They take it as a personal offence. To God alone may women complain without insulting Him!

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„I attribute my success to this — I never gave or took any excuse.“

—  Florence Nightingale
As quoted in The Gigantic Book of Teachers' Wisdom (2007) by Frank McCourt and Erin Gruwell, p. 410

„And is it a wonder that all individual life is extinguished?“

—  Florence Nightingale
Cassandra (1860), Context: At present we live to impede each other's satisfactions; competition, domestic life, society, what is it all but this? We go somewhere where we are not wanted and where we don't want to go. What else is conventional life? Passivity when we want to be active. So many hours spent every day in passively doing what conventional life tells us, when we would so gladly be at work. And is it a wonder that all individual life is extinguished?

„The way to live with God is to live with Ideas — not merely to think about ideals, but to do and suffer for them. Those who have to work on men and women must above all things have their Spiritual Ideal, their purpose, ever present. The "mystical " state is the essence of common sense.“

—  Florence Nightingale
Notes from Devotional Authors of the Middle Ages (1873-1874), Context: These old Mystics whom we call superstitious were far before us in their ideas of God and of prayer (that is of our communion with God). "Prayer," says a mystic of the 16th century, "is to ask not what we wish of God, but what God wishes of us." "Master who hast made and formed the vessel of the body of Thy creature, and hast put within so great a treasure, the Soul, which bears the image of Thee": so begins a dying prayer of the 14th century. In it and in the other prayers of the Mystics there is scarcely a petition. There is never a word of the theory that God's dealings with us are to show His "power"; still less of the theory that "of His own good pleasure" He has " predestined" any souls to eternal damnation. There is little mention of heaven for self; of desire of happiness for self, none. It is singular how little mention there is either of "intercession " or of " Atonement by Another's merits." True it is that we can only create a heaven for ourselves and others "by the merits of Another," since it is only by working in accordance with God's Laws that we can do anything. But there is nothing at all in these prayers as if God's anger had to be bought off, as if He had to be bribed into giving us heaven by sufferings merely "to satisfy God's justice." In the dying prayers, there is nothing of the "egotism of death." It is the reformation of God's church—that is, God's children, for whom the self would give itself, that occupies the dying thoughts. There is not often a desire to be released from trouble and suffering. On the contrary, there is often a desire to suffer the greatest suffering, and to offer the greatest offering, with even greater pain, if so any work can be done. And still, this, and all, is ascribed to God's goodness. The offering is not to buy anything by suffering, but — If only the suppliant can do anything for God's children! These suppliants did not live to see the " reformation" of God's children. No more will any who now offer these prayers. But at least we can all work towards such practical " reformation." The way to live with God is to live with Ideas — not merely to think about ideals, but to do and suffer for them. Those who have to work on men and women must above all things have their Spiritual Ideal, their purpose, ever present. The "mystical " state is the essence of common sense.

„This is what I call real sympathy.“

—  Florence Nightingale
Context: I have read half your book thro' and I am immensely charmed by it. But some things I disagree with and more I do not understand. This does not apply to the characters, but to your conclusions, e. g. you say "women are more sympathetic than men." Now if I were to write a book out of my experience I should begin Women have no sympathy. Yours is the tradition. Mine is the conviction of experience. I have never found one woman who has altered her life by one iota for me or my opinions. Now look at my experience of men. A statesman, past middle age, absorbed in politics for a quarter of a century, out of sympathy with me, remodels his whole life and policy — learns a science the driest, the most technical, the most difficult, that of administration, as far as it concerns the lives of men, — not, as I learnt it, in the field from stirring experience, but by writing dry regulations in a London room by my sofa with me. This is what I call real sympathy. Letter to Madame Mohl (13 December 1861) http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA13&dq=Women+have+no+sympathy+and+my+experience+of+women+is+almost+as+large+as+Europe.&client=firefox-a&id=totpAAAAMAAJ#v=onepage&q=Women%20have%20no%20sympathy%20and%20my%20experience%20of%20women%20is%20almost%20as%20large%20as%20Europe.&f=false, pp. 13-15

„Look at the poverty of our life! Can we expect anything else but poor creatures to come out of it?“

—  Florence Nightingale
Cassandra (1860), Context: The "dreams of youth" have become a proverb. That organisations, early rich, fall far short of their promise has been repeated to satiety. But is it extraordinary that it should be so? For do we ever utilise this heroism? Look how it lives upon itself and perishes for lack of food. We do not know what to do with it. We had rather that it should not be there. Often we laugh at it. Always we find it troublesome. Look at the poverty of our life! Can we expect anything else but poor creatures to come out of it?

„In looking round we are struck with the power of the organisations we see, not with their want of power. Now and then, it is true, we are conscious that there is an inferior organisation, but, in general, just the contrary.“

—  Florence Nightingale
Cassandra (1860), Context: There is a physical, not moral, impossibility of supplying the wants of the intellect in the state of civilisation at which we have arrived. The stimulus, the training, the time, are all three wanting to us; or, in other words, the means and inducements are not there. Look at the poor lives we lead. It is a wonder that we are so good as we are, not that we are so bad. In looking round we are struck with the power of the organisations we see, not with their want of power. Now and then, it is true, we are conscious that there is an inferior organisation, but, in general, just the contrary.

„There is a physical, not moral, impossibility of supplying the wants of the intellect in the state of civilisation at which we have arrived.“

—  Florence Nightingale
Cassandra (1860), Context: There is a physical, not moral, impossibility of supplying the wants of the intellect in the state of civilisation at which we have arrived. The stimulus, the training, the time, are all three wanting to us; or, in other words, the means and inducements are not there. Look at the poor lives we lead. It is a wonder that we are so good as we are, not that we are so bad. In looking round we are struck with the power of the organisations we see, not with their want of power. Now and then, it is true, we are conscious that there is an inferior organisation, but, in general, just the contrary.

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„Give us back our suffering, we cry to Heaven in our hearts — suffering rather than indifferentism; for out of nothing comes nothing. But out of suffering may come the cure. Better have pain than paralysis!“

—  Florence Nightingale
Cassandra (1860), Context: Give us back our suffering, we cry to Heaven in our hearts — suffering rather than indifferentism; for out of nothing comes nothing. But out of suffering may come the cure. Better have pain than paralysis! A hundred struggle and drown in the breakers. One discovers the new world. But rather, ten times rather, die in the surf, heralding the way to that new world, than stand idly on the shore!

„Jesus Christ raised women above the condition of mere slaves, mere ministers to the passions of the man, raised them by His sympathy, to be Ministers of God.“

—  Florence Nightingale
Cassandra (1860), Context: Jesus Christ raised women above the condition of mere slaves, mere ministers to the passions of the man, raised them by His sympathy, to be Ministers of God. He gave them moral activity. But the Age, the World, Humanity, must give them the means to exercise this moral activity, must give them intellectual cultivation, spheres of action.

„What is Mysticism? Is it not the attempt to draw near to God, not by rites or ceremonies, but by inward disposition?“

—  Florence Nightingale
Notes from Devotional Authors of the Middle Ages (1873-1874), Context: What is Mysticism? Is it not the attempt to draw near to God, not by rites or ceremonies, but by inward disposition? Is it not merely a hard word for " The Kingdom of Heaven is within"? Heaven is neither a place nor a time. There might be a Heaven not only here but now. It is true that sometimes we must sacrifice not only health of body, but health of mind (or, peace) in the interest of God; that is, we must sacrifice Heaven. But "thou shalt be like God for thou shalt see Him as He is": this may be here and now, as well as there and then. And it may be for a time — then lost — then recovered — both here and there, both now and then.

„Where shall I find God? In myself. That is the true Mystical Doctrine. But then I myself must be in a state for Him to come and dwell in me. This is the whole aim of the Mystical Life; and all Mystical Rules in all times and countries have been laid down for putting the soul into such a state.“

—  Florence Nightingale
Notes from Devotional Authors of the Middle Ages (1873-1874), Context: Where shall I find God? In myself. That is the true Mystical Doctrine. But then I myself must be in a state for Him to come and dwell in me. This is the whole aim of the Mystical Life; and all Mystical Rules in all times and countries have been laid down for putting the soul into such a state. That the soul herself should be heaven, that our Father which is in heaven should dwell in her, that there is something within us infinitely more estimable than often comes out, that God enlarges this "palace of our soul" by degrees so as to enable her to receive Himself, that thus he gives her liberty but that the soul must give herself up absolutely to Him for Him to do this, the incalculable benefit of this occasional but frequent intercourse with the Perfect: this is the conclusion and sum of the whole matter, put into beautiful language by the Mystics. And of this process they describe the steps, and assign periods of months and years during which the steps, they say, are commonly made by those who make them at all.

„It is very well to say "be prudent, be careful, try to know each other." But how are you to know each other?“

—  Florence Nightingale
Cassandra (1860), Context: It is very well to say "be prudent, be careful, try to know each other." But how are you to know each other? Unless a woman had lost all pride, how is it possible for her, under the eyes of all her family, to indulge in long exclusive conversations with a man? "Such a thing" must not take place till after her "engagement." And how is she to make an engagement, if "such a thing" has not taken place?

„Passion, intellect, moral activity — these three have never been satisfied in a woman. In this cold and oppressive conventional atmosphere, they cannot be satisfied.“

—  Florence Nightingale
Cassandra (1860), Context: Passion, intellect, moral activity — these three have never been satisfied in a woman. In this cold and oppressive conventional atmosphere, they cannot be satisfied. To say more on this subject would be to enter into the whole history of society, of the present state of civilisation.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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