Are Male Nurses Called Brothers?

Are Male Nurses Called Brothers

No, Generally male nurses are not addressed as “brothers”. Historically, the term “sister” was used universally for nurses, irrespective of gender. While this practice persists in certain regions like the Philippines and Bangladesh, many countries now use the neutral term “nurse” for both males and females.

Although specific terms like “murse” or “male nurse” exist for male nurses, they are not as prevalent as the universally accepted “nurse.” It’s worth noting that individual preferences vary, and some male nurses may not prefer these specific terms.

Moreover, the most considerate approach is to ask nurses directly how they prefer to be addressed, as this respects their personal choice in nomenclature.

What About the Word “Murse?”

What About the Word "Murse?

Now, let’s talk about something called “murse.” If you look around online, you’ll find different opinions about it. “Murse” is a mix of two words: “man” and “nurse.” This kind of word combo is called a portmanteau.

However, it might sound a bit odd, but combining words to make a new one is nothing new. People do it all the time. Here are some other examples:

  • Biology + Electronics = Bionic
  • Bold + Audacious = Bodacious
  • Brother + Romance = Bromance
  • Breakfast + Lunch = Brunch
  • Friend + Enemy = Frenemy

And here’s “murse”:

  • Man + Nurse = Murse

There are more examples, but you get the idea.

Do Male Nurses Like Being Called a “Murse?”

No, If you check online, you’ll see that some male nurses don’t mind being called a “murse,” while others really don’t like it. The reason some guys don’t like it is that they find it a bit disrespectful. 

To them, being a nurse is about caring for sick people, and the term “nurse” is good for everyone, no matter their gender. So, they’d rather just be called a nurse.

Understanding the Term “Brother” in Medicine

The meaning of the term “brother” in the medical field can vary a lot, depending on the situation and the culture. Sometimes, people might even use “brothers” and “sisters,” or they might just say “siblings.” In some cases, you might hear phrases like “medical brothers” or “medical sisters.” It depends on how the people involved see their relationship.

So, why do we call nurses “sisters”? Well, it goes back to the history of nursing. In places like the United Kingdom, nurses were often called “sisters” because, in the beginning, many nurses were nuns (sisters) from religious groups. Even as nursing became more secular, they kept using “sister” as a way to show respect to these caregivers, especially when many had a background in religious orders.

Why Are Nurses Called Sisters and Brothers?

In the United Kingdom and its territories, nurses were often called “sisters,” mainly because they were usually women. I think the term “sister” started in regular nursing because, back then, nurses were often nuns (sisters) from religious groups.

In the beginning, nursing had a lot to do with nuns providing care, and that tradition stuck even when nursing became more secular. So, they kept using “sister” as a way to show respect to these caregivers, many of whom had a religious background.

Additionally, it’s interesting to know that things are changing in nursing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that by 2026, they expect the number of male nurses to go up to 19%. So, we might see more diversity in the future when it comes to who’s doing the caregiving.

Comparison between Male Nurses and Brothers in a Hospital Setting

AspectMale NurseBrother
RoleHealthcare professionals trained in nursing, provide direct patient care.Members of a religious order may be involved in pastoral care, chaplaincy, or non-nursing roles.
ResponsibilitiesAdministers medications, monitors vital signs, assists in medical procedures, and collaborates with the healthcare team.Responsibilities may extend to religious or pastoral duties, not necessarily involved in direct patient care.
TitleReferred to as a “male nurse” or simply “nurse.”Referred to as “brother,” a term associated with a religious order.
Gender SpecificityGender-specific terms are used to identify the gender of the nurse.Religious title not specific to gender, can be used for both male and female members of the order.
TrainingHolds education and training in nursing.May have religious training and education but not necessarily in nursing.
Cultural/Religious UseCommon in secular healthcare settings.Common in certain religious or cultural contexts, often associated with Catholic institutions.

How Do The Male Doctors Feel When They Are Referred To As Brother?

The appropriate way to address a male doctor can vary based on individual preferences and cultural norms. In some cases, male doctors may not mind being called “brother,” especially in cultures where informal terms are common. However, others may prefer the more formal titles of “doctor” or “Mr.”

Furthermore, a study published in the journal “Patient Education and Counseling” in 2017 found that they tend to be more satisfied with informal language, like “brother,” compared to female doctors. This may be because they are often more accustomed to informal addressing, while female doctors may be perceived more as authority figures.

To ensure respectful communication, it’s advisable to use the term that the doctor prefers. If uncertain, asking them directly about their preferred title is a considerate approach.

Several factors may influence a male doctor’s comfort with being called “brother,” including their age, specialty, and the patient-doctor relationship. Younger doctors and those in more informal specialties might be more comfortable, while a patient’s close relationship with the doctor could influence the use of informal terms.

When unsure about how to address a male one, erring on the side of formality by using “doctor” or “Mr.” is a safe choice. It demonstrates respect for the professional context until the doctor’s preference is known.

What are the types of male nurses?

What are the types of male nurses
  • Registered Nurse (RN)
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
  • Emergency Room (ER) Nurse
  • Operating Room (OR) Nurse
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Nurse
  • Pediatric Nurse
  • Psychiatric Nurse


1. What do we call male nurses?

In the nursing profession, both men and women are referred to as “nurses.” There is no gender-specific title for male nurses.

2. Is a male nurse called sister?

No, in nursing, the term “sister” is traditionally used for female nurses, while male nurses are referred to as “brothers.”

3. Is a male nurse a nurse?

Yes. Male nurses are integral members of the nursing profession, playing a crucial role in providing quality patient care alongside their female counterparts.

4. What do you call a nurse in the UK?

In the UK, nurses are commonly referred to as Registered Nurses (RNs) or Nurse Practitioners (NPs), depending on their specific career path.

Final Words

The common practice is not to refer to male nurses as “brothers.” While the historical use of “sister” encompassed nurses of all genders, the term “nurse” has evolved to become gender-neutral in many countries.

Furthermore, the specific term for male nurses, such as “murse” or “male nurse,” exists but is not as widespread as the universally accepted “nurse.” It is crucial to recognize that individual preferences may vary, and the most respectful approach is to inquire directly about a nurse’s preferred title. 

Ultimately, the evolving landscape of nursing embraces inclusivity and respect for diverse healthcare professionals, emphasizing the importance of using language that aligns with individual choices and modern norms.