Clinical Pastoral Education

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The Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program at Sisters Hospital is the region’s only clinical pastoral education program, an interfaith program where students learn to minister to people in crisis settings. Students minister in hospitals, nursing homes and healthcare settings and also in colleges, prisons, workplace sites and other community placements.

Program Outcomes

  • CPE prepares students to provide pastoral and spiritual care to patients in hospitals, nursing homes and community agencies.
  • CPE may fulfill a one-unit requirement of a theological degree program.
  • One year of CPE may be accepted by theological schools as the required intern year of ministry.
  • CPE may serve as part of a graduate program at a theological school in which academic study and supervisory CPE are combined.

Program Elements

CPE combines professional education and supervised ministry. It is this combined focus that helps maximize insight and growth from this experiential learning.

CPE uses an adult learning model of education wherein students set their own goals and contract for learning. It is in this setting that students reflect on and learn from their own experiences by seeking feedback from peers and supervisors. This type of learning aids students in developing self-awareness, both as persons and as pastoral ministers.

The patient or client to whom the chaplains minister is often referred to as “the living human document.” Each student is encouraged to develop various ways of ministering from these “documents.” Interactions with peers and supervisor, in this learning context, provides helpful critique for the student.

The CPE environment challenges the student to reach out in new ways and to take risks in an educational environment that is safe and conducive to learning and growing in pastoral identity.

Who Can Enroll

Individuals eligible to enroll for units of CPE have completed a written application and an admissions interview. Applicants demonstrate an ability to participate in CPE, usually by completing at least 18 credits in theological studies.

Individuals eligible to enroll in Supervisory CPE programs have completed several units of CPE and demonstrate an ability to teach – usually through the completion of a theological degree and several years of pastoral experience.