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Are you a "Sister?"

Nurses   (5,907 Views 54 Comments)
by MikeyBSN MikeyBSN (New Member) New Member

MikeyBSN has 7 years experience and works as a ER Nurse.

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Should we keep the "sister" designation?

  1. 1. Should we keep the "sister" designation?

    • No, it's antiquated and unnecessary
      12
    • Yes, it's part of our tradition
      10
    • I have never heard it used in nursing
      73
    • I don't know
      3

98 members have participated

Davey Do has 35 years experience and works as a Behavioral Health RN.

1,893 Likes; 13 Followers; 71,855 Visitors; 5,780 Posts

One of my fondest memories was the sister who was an EKG tech. She was always busy trundling her EKG machine down the hall, smiling pleasantly at everyone all the while. Every item of her habit was completely blindingly white at all times. As we all wore white then, I really wanted to ask her what her laundry secret was, but "how do you keep your whites so darn white?" perhaps inappropriate.

I worked at a Catholic-funded childrens' home in '79 and '80, nursel, and the Sisters told me their laundry secret:

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10 Likes; 8,487 Visitors; 672 Posts

One of the first formal charities was the Sisters of St Vincent de Paul in France sometime around 1980's. It was one of the first formal nursing schools and most of the nurses were actually nuns, thus the term sister. It eventually evolved into today of the word "sister" that nurse is a charge nurse or nursing supervisor. This occurs mostly in Europe. If you think about Europe, how close it is to the Vatican you begin to see the Catholic influence. Europe tends to pay homage to tradition, as evidenced by the historical environment all around you, it is hard to not see history daily.

I personally do not mind the term sister but for me it has a more respectful manner in that these "sisters" are truly great at what they do and a friend/mentor...

Tradition is eroding in our country, we live for the here and now wanting instant gratification. I do not think this is a bad thing, I just do not want us to forget our roots, and those who have made that path trail for us nurses. To honor ones professional history by continuing to call some nurses "sisters" may not be such a bad thing.

Lastly as for being male and using the term sister, males only recently began joining the nursing field, you are to me in the male nursing infancy, still evolving. Anyone who comes to nursing as a profession in todays world has many challenges male or female and the term sister really although antiquated again is a tem rich in history when male nurses were pretty far out there if any. I do not recall a single male nurse working in the medical arena 40 years ago, I recall the first male nurse I worked with was in the Army and I had no concerns of working with male or female, I just want competency in a nurse.

Edited by Neats

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14 Likes; 4,419 Visitors; 192 Posts

My floor has loads of foreign nurses and they do this. It's weird to me and I don't go along with it. They're not my brother or sister, they're my teammate at best.

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38 Likes; 561 Visitors; 89 Posts

hahaha this comment should have had more likes

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I volunteered a bit in South Africa and this is what I was able to piece together: professional nurses' title is "Sister"-even the men. I don't know if this is everywhere in S.A., but in the rural clinic where I volunteered there was a man called "sister Stephen" who was a supervisor. It didn't seem to be a joke and he took no offense at being a sister. Also, one year my colleague was "nurse (first name)" and following a promotion the next year she was "Sister (last name). Nurses of a level comparable to LPN in the US were "nurse" and level comparable to RN were "sister" as they did not use the LPN/RN designation.

I have had patients from commonwealth countries (working as a nurse in the US) who referred to me as "nurse" when I wore blue scrubs but always "SISTER" when I wore whites (which for me was common). Especially to older people in those countries, white means professional.

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565 Visitors; 6 Posts

As male nurses, we refer to each other as brothers.

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In Russian, I don't think there is a title like RN. Only LPN and Doctors. Literally translating LPN/LVN is "Medical Sister".

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2 Likes; 1,836 Visitors; 152 Posts

Our Filipina nurses call one another "ate" (ah-tay). Or maybe they only call nurses older than themselves that. I don't know, but I think it's kind of endearing. I have heard males nurses (and lots of male non-nurses) call each other brother. And I do believe a male nurse called me sister once or twice. I liked it.

Edited to add that ate means elder sister.

Edited by MyAimIsTrue
clarification

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Penelope_Pitstop has 13 years experience and works as a Registered Nurse.

2 Likes; 45,486 Visitors; 2,365 Posts

**sniffles**

No, I'm not a sister. I am an only child, I always wanted **sniff** siblings. **Sob**

My husband is also an **hiccup** only child so I'm not even a **sob** sister in law

**bawls**

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XB9S has 22 years experience and works as a Registered nurse.

4 Likes; 1 Follower; 8 Articles; 63,152 Visitors; 2,968 Posts

Just curious, what's the difference between a ward sister and a matron?

the ward sister manages one clinical area, the Matron has multiple areas. as a Matron I manage 2 in patient ward areas, 4 community teams, 2 outpatient areas and 4 teams of specialist nurses.

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XB9S has 22 years experience and works as a Registered nurse.

4 Likes; 1 Follower; 8 Articles; 63,152 Visitors; 2,968 Posts

I am from Scotland, the old fashioned name for the boss of the ward was "Sister" with a male being know as the Charge Nurse. As we moved into more enlightened times and we became more professional we have Senior Charge Nurse as the boss of the ward - male or female. We got rid of Matrons years ago and now have Clinical Nurse Managers.

Matrons to me are an outdated, stupid title - sorry XB9S. Matrons tended to be bullies and very set in their ways - and a few were clinically insane. Things were done matrons way despite research or evidence based practice. I would not under any circumstances call any manager "Matron" as I have no respect for the role or previous holders of that role.

:) LOL

I guess it depends on the Matron, I've held many titles for the same job from Matron, Senior Nurse, Senior clinical nurse and lead nurse. it's the individual that makes the bully not the title

I work in an area where we have high deprivation and a very elderly population, we consulted before we changed our titles (I had a similar opinion to yours) but after 8 months I have to admit it is better understood by my patient group and their families.

I try to refuse to be called Matron, I prefer my colleagues to use my first name, but work with a high proportion of Filipino and Indian nurses, they refuse to call me XB9 even when I ask them to and insist on Matron or Mrs S.

Calling nurses 'sister' and 'matron' is putting men off the profession, RCN warns | The Independent

Edited by XB9S
adding

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GrumpyRN has 35 years experience and works as a Retired Emergency Nurse Practitioner.

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I hope you did not take offence at my comments XB9S, it was not meant to be nasty - although I can see it could be easily construed that way.

I feel that the problem is "Daily Mail" thinking by the public. We need more Hattie Jacques patrolling the corridors. The hospitals were better when Matron ran things - they weren't.

In my opinion, for what that is worth, it takes away from nursing professionalism and makes people think we are still the handmaidens to the doctors.

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