Date: Wed, 21 Jun 1995 13:43:13 -0300
From: Chris Brooks chris[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]HSCC.KUNIV.EDU.KW
Subject: nurse / "sister"
Does anyone have a comment on the use of "sister" for "nurse"? My Czexh
colleague just asked me if they are the same in English. Here in
Kuwait, nurses are addressed as "sister"; evidently being addressed
as "nurse" is being demeaned, though the *job title* itself is
He says that in Czechoslovakia, the complete name translates as
"health sister" or "sister of health," but in practice it is
shortened to "sister."
I remember that in Indonesia, "suster" is also used; would this be
a borrowing from the Dutch? Is "sister" used for "nurse" in other
Germanic and / or Slavic languages?
Finally, does "sister" for "nurse" derive from Catholic nuns who
often serve as nurses throughout the world? Or does the meaning
come from the biological "sister," or someone who is close to
you, supportive, nurturing, etc?
Thanks for your ideas. Chris Brooks / Kuwait