I am currently taking Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Saint Luke’s Hospital. I have received a lot of questions about it and wanted to take the opportunity to respond here.
What is CPE?
I would first commend a great wikipedia entry on clinical pastoral education to get an idea of the overall program design. Here is my take – CPE is an opportunity to learn more about myself and how I operate in a group through self-reflection and awareness of my own emotions and emotional interactions in a group. This takes place with service as a hospital chaplain being the arena in which experiences are gained.
Why are you taking CPE?
I am taking it for two reasons. First, it is for me to be ordained in the Kansas West Conference (I am a probationary member of Kansas West, serving in Kansas East. If you are interested in more about that, just ask. If you don’t know what I am talking about – no worries.) Second, I believe that CPE offers a great opportunity to address a growing edge in my professional development – being aware of my own emotions, those of others and how that affects ministry.
What are the requirements?
I am a part of the extended unit which has the following requirements, as detailed at the website.
The extended unit is thirty weeks, 14 hours-per-week, from mid-September through mid-April. It is open to seminarians, clergy seeking continuing education, and qualified lay persons. Six hours are fixed for the formal teaching program, eight hours are flexible to fit the student’s individual schedule.
- Provide pastoral and spiritual care to patients as assigned.
- Share emergency call duty with staff and peers.
- Participate in all educational sessions including verbatims seminars, patient care conferences, covenant groups, didactic seminars, role play seminars, and individual supervision.
- Written requirements include: a learning agreement, verbatims, reflection reports, and a final evaluation.
The teaching program is class time on Monday afternoons and the eight hours is clinical time in the hospital visiting on the floor to which I have been assigned.
I have great flexibility at Resurrection to be able to fulfill the requirements for CPE, but have the same responsibilities at Resurrection during this time. It has been a really great experience so far and I am looking forward to continuing to learn about myself and improve my pastoral skills.
Just 190 days to go. But who’s counting?