Clinical Pastoral Education

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.

Program Requirements:

  • 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? 😉

By Andrew Conard

Christian, husband, son, brother, homeowner

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