Florence Nightingale was born to a high class, British family in 1820. She refused at least two suitors that we know of and wrote in her journal that she felt called to become a nurse. Nursing at that time was not a respected profession. She defied her parents’ expectations and at age 24, left her family to train to be a nurse.
When the Crimean war broke out, she was asked to help as a nurse in a military hospital in Turkey. Florence Nightingale was contacted by the Secretary of War, Sydney Herbert, to take a group of nurses and offer their services. In the hospital, water and food were rationed, and there weren’t enough beds and supplies for the wounded. Many soldiers were placed on the floor with the rats and insects. Florence Nightingale said this about the hospital:
“The British high command had succeeded in creating the nearest thing to hell on earth.” Pettinger, Tejvan. “Biography of Florence Nightingale”, Oxford, www.biographyonline.net, 25th Nov. 2010
She and her group of nurses must have worked hard with little resources. They ended up reducing the mortality rate to about 2 percent.
This history sets an impressive background for her quote. Florence neither gave or took any excuse. She was a woman who changed public health care dramatically throughout her life. Hospitals and the nursing profession in general, increased in their efficacy because of her diligent efforts.
So remember Florence Nightingale when you find yourself giving excuses, and ask yourself, what she would do in your situation.
“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.”