Our hospital was still small enough and the core staff has been employed there long enough that we felt close-knit, like family; peoples of diverse cultures, religions, and nationalities all working together. Only by the people working together could we survive and provide the quality of care for our clients. We had to rely on each other to get the work done. For the most part, we all have become an integral part of the hospital’s daily function. Some of the stories have happened as one person tries to learn and to understand each other’s heritage and languages.
One such incident occurred when a nurse of Polish heritage was trying to teach another nurse some Polish words. One of the words that she taught her protégé was chapka meaning hat. Several days later, they were working together when the “language student” saw a doctor walk in to the hospital wearing a new hat. She turned to her instructor and said, “Oh look, Doctor Hughes has a new chopek.”
The instructor burst out laughing. She couldn’t speak for awhile because she was laughing so hard. Her student looked bewildered, until finally the teacher managed, “I haven’t taught you that word yet. The word you said was Chopek and that is the word for penis.”
The “language student” turned red and said, “I knew I heard that word somewhere.”
That ended the language lessons for several days.