April 27, 2015 | | Comments 22
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Nurses: What inspires you to reach for excellence?

Nurses Week is a good time to reflect on what sets the nursing profession apart from so many others. Nurses have a reverence for the work (however flawed circumstances may be on a day-to-day basis), and a commitment to bettering the “caring profession.”

This Nurses Week, please give some thought to what inspires Elizabeth Kenney2you to reach for excellence. Submit your favorite inspirational quotes and sayings in the comments box below and we will share them so all can be uplifted. We’ll also compile the best into a resource to sustain you on the days when you face challenges.

Here’s a quote from an amazing Australian nurse, Elizabeth Kenney. In the 1930’s, she pioneered the use of physical therapy, rather than immobilization, for polio victims.


It is better to be a lion for a day
than a sheep all your life.

             —Elizabeth Kenney, 1880-1952


NOTE⇒ You can use the 20% Nurses Week discount offered in this post through 5/12/2015.

Entry Information

Filed Under: Care for the caregiverHealth and wellnessImage of nursingLeadershipNurses WeekNursing professional standardsQuality of careStaff motivation


About the Author: Claudette Moore is an acquisitions editor at HCPro, focusing primarily on nursing topics. She is always looking for new books that will create a better workplace for nurses and their managers, so contact her if you would like to publish with HCPro.

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  1. Rebecca Hendren

    “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
    St. Francis of Assisi

  2. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

  3. It is not how much we do, it is how much love we put into the doing.
    —Mother Teresa

  4. And another favorite:

    Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.
    —Winston Churchill

  5. One of the secrets of life is that all that is worth the doing is what we do for others.. Lewis Carroll

  6. You must behave as if your every act, even the smallest, impacted a thousand people for a hundred generations. Because it does.
    Herr Mueller

  7. I’ve said it for years, but only recently found out who the quote is attributed to.

    “There are no problems, only solutions.”
    ― John Lennon

  8. Things turn the best for those who make the best out of the way things turn out. John Wooden

  9. I love the John Lennon quote… it’s from Watching the Wheels (go round and round). Here’s another part of the song for independent-minded nurses (and editors!):

    People say I’m crazy doing what I’m doing,
    Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin,
    When I say that I’m o.k. they look at me kind of strange,
    Surely you’re not happy now you no longer play the game

  10. Leadership is solving problems.The day people stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.

    Colin Powell

  11. “As I have learned, duty is liberating. It forces you to transcend your own limitations and makes you do things that may not come naturally but must be done because they are right”
    David Rockefeller

  12. Sometimes it is the people who no one imagines anything of, who do the things that no one can imagine. Movie: “The Imitation Game”

  13. One of my nurses started saying this and we have adopted this on our unit “Attack your day. Don’t let it attack you.”

    We went through a period of high acuity and low staffing. We all came together in our daily huddles to refresh our minds and team up to attack our day. It has helped tremendously with team work and improving patient care.

  14. “A good leader has vision, is a good listener; she’s tenacious and
    consistent because, without consistency, one cannot be clear.
    If one is not clear, then followers are not certain where they’re going.”
    Glendora Putnam

  15. From one of my dear professors at UTMB who has since passed away:

    So touch lives gently—giving much
    For who we are, is who we touch

    — Author unknown

    (This is the only line I can remember, but it is how I tried to deliver care all of my years at bedside.)

  16. To be able to touch the lives of others in the promotion
    of wellness or at the end of their walk through life: Priceless.
    I would settle for nothing less. I make a difference.

  17. I attribute my success to this:
    I never gave or took any excuse

    Author — Florence Nightingale

  18. Barbara, Do you know who said this? The quote is lovely.

  19. As a male nurse I love this ‘appropriately feminist’ quote from our founder and muse that inspires me to embrace the glorious qualities that women bring to the world and the profession:

    Instead of wishing to see more doctors made by women joining [the medical profession],
    I wish to see as few doctors, either male or female, as possible. For, mark you, the women
    have made no improvement [to the medical profession because] they have only tried to be “men”
    and they have only succeeded in being third-rate men.
    — Florence Nightingale

  20. So nice to hear a male perspective on a feminist perspective of the nursing profession… Thanks, Jim.

  21. Why do we exist if not to help each other …
    No author..it was found on back of a sugar packet and made a huge amount of sense to me!

  22. Thanks, Jennifer… As it turns out, sugar can be good for you!

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