Date: Wed, 21 Jun 1995 13:20:32 +0200 From: Jenny Becker 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 orders. Jenny Becker beckerj[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]