Date: Wed, 21 Jun 1995 13:20:32 +0200
From: Jenny Becker beckerj[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]OMRI.CZ
Subject: Re: 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.
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
In German, the word for nurse is also sister - Schwester or
Krankenschwester (which is interesting, as krank means sick, while the
Czechs place the emphasis on health). I don't know about the origin of the
use of sister, but I would guess that the nun connection is correct. In the
middle ages, the vast majority of hospitals in Europe were run by religious
beckerj[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]omri.cz