Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy, on May 12, 1820. She was also called “The lady with the lamp” and was known for her contribution to her profession as a nurse.

Her family did not support her choice of career. But she defied all odds to not just become successful at it but revolutionize it entirely to the extent of being considered the pioneer of nursing as we know it today.

During the Crimean War, she and a team of nurses improved the unsanitary conditions at a hospital on a British base in Scutari, Turkey, greatly reducing the number of deaths. In 1860 she established St. Thomas' Hospital and the Nightingale Training School for Nurses in London.

Nursing, was not considered a respected profession in 1837. Insufficient wages meant women working in this field struggled to make ends meet, with some even forced to engage in prostitution on the side.

Considering all that, when Nightingale told her parents she wanted to become a nurse, they were completely against it. However, she had made up her mind and in 1850 she started training to be a nurse.

ReadNational Nurses Week 2017: 12 Quotes To Celebrate Health Professionals

A revered hero of her time who inspired many, the "Lady with the lamp" died in London, on Aug. 13, 1910. Here’s a list of some of her greatest and most powerful quotes, compiled from AZQuotes and NurseBuff:

  • “Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation as any painter's or sculptor's work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God's spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said the finest of Fine Arts.”
  • “Live your life while you have it. Life is a splendid gift. There is nothing small in it. For the greatest things grow by God's Law out of the smallest. But to live your life you must discipline it. You must not fritter it away in "fair purpose, erring act, inconstant will" but make your thoughts, your acts, all work to the same end and that end, not self but God. That is what we call character.”
  • “Rather, ten times, die in the surf, heralding the way to a new world, than stand idly on the shore.”

GettyImages-3062820 Circa 1855: English nurse Florence Nightingale (1820 - 1910) at a hospital in Scutari, Turkey. Photo: Getty Images

  •  “I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel.”
  • “Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better.”
  • “Hospitals are only an intermediate stage of civilization, never intended ... to take in the whole sick population. May we hope that the day will come ... when every poor sick person will have the opportunity of a share in a district sick-nurse at home.”
  • “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.”
  • “To understand God’s thoughts one must study statistics… the measure of his purpose.”
  • “I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuse.”
  • “I think one's feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results.”