Date: Wed, 21 Jun 1995 13:43:13 -0300


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