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CPE Training at UAMS


The CPE program at UAMS Medical Center has a history that extends over twenty years. Chaplain interns and residents serve as hospital chaplains providing pastoral care and counseling to inpatients, families and hospital staff. Each chaplain in training is assigned to a number of floors and units, providing an opportunity for the trainee to experience the full range of care settings in a modern medical facility. The trainees are required to provide 24 hours on call coverage for the Medical Center. In addition, each trainee is required to present case studies, attend didactic seminars, provide written reflections upon reading reviews, meet with their supervisor for individual supervision sessions, conduct a weekly ecumenical worship service and take part in group relations seminars.

The UAMS Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program consists of a three components:

CPE Residency Program—one year September through August,
Full-Time Summer Program—11 weeks
Part-Time Extended Program--September through May

The CPE program focuses on the development of self-awareness, formation of pastoral identity, professional functioning, and the ability to address issues from a competent clinical and pastoral perspective.

The residency program is designed for the ordained person with a seminary degree and at least one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. On occasion, a lay person may qualify for admission. CPE residents and interns serve as ecumenical chaplains, under supervision, to assigned areas throughout the UAMS Medical Center and clinics. The setting provides a rich base for clinical experience and opportunities for continued personal, professional and pastoral development.

The Clinical Setting:
While seminary settings provide an academic environment for the study of pastoral theology in contrast the CPE center provides the clinical basis for learning. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Medical Center is the state’s only academic Medical Center and is responsible for training more than 80 percent of the physicians in Arkansas as well as the majority of other medical professionals.

UAMS centers of excellence include the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy and Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging.

UAMS Medical Center is a Level 1 Trauma Center and comprises some 400 inpatient beds.

The news magazine, U.S. News and World Report, has named the UAMS Medical Center as one of America's Best Hospitals for nine consecutive years.

The Clinical Pastoral Education Program at UAMS Medical Center is accredited by the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP) an international, theologically based covenant community, offering accreditation and certification to individuals and programs that meet standards of expertise in Pastoral Counseling, Pastoral Supervision and psychotherapy.

CPSP confers Diplomate, Pastoral Counselor, Board Certified Clinical Chaplain and Board Certified Associate Clinical Chaplain credentials to individuals who demonstrate competence, meet its standards, aspire to its principles, and commit to its discipline.

Objectives of CPE
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) programs provide an opportunity for ministers, seminarians and lay people to develop pastoral competency within a particular pastoral setting (usually a hospital, parish, hospice, or retirement home). The CPE approach to training is based upon an "action-reflection" model of learning. Pastoral trainees function as ecumenical chaplains providing pastoral care in assigned areas and use their experience in pastoral encounters as a basis for their learning.

CPE focuses on the development of personal and pastoral identity and the growth of professional competence as a minister. Specific objectives of CPE are:

  • To become aware of one's self as a minister and of the ways one's ministry affects people.
  • To become a competent pastor of people and groups in various life situations and crisis circumstances and to develop the maturity to provide intensive and extensive pastoral care and counseling.
  • To utilize the clinical method of learning.
  • To utilize the support, confrontation, and clarification of the peer group for the integration of personal attributes and pastoral functioning.
  • To become competent in self-evaluation and in utilizing supervision and consultation to evaluate one's pastoral practice.
  • To develop the ability to make optimum use of one's religious heritage, theological understanding, and knowledge of behavioral sciences in pastoral ministry to people and groups.
  • To acquire self-knowledge to a degree that permits pastoral care to be offered within the strengths and limitations of one's own person.
  • To develop the ability to work as a pastoral member of an interdisciplinary team.
  • To develop the capacity to utilize one's pastoral perspective and competence in a variety of functions such as preaching, teaching, and administration as well as pastoral care and counseling.
  • To become aware of how one's attitudes, values, and assumptions affect one's ministry.
  • To understand the theological issues arising from experience and to utilize theology and the behavioral sciences to understand the human condition.
Clinical Pastoral Education Curriculum

The UAMS Clinical Pastoral Training programs follow the standards set by the CPSP, the accrediting organization. A typical unit of CPE requires a minimum of 400 hours of supervised ministry in a clinical setting.

Chaplains in training are assigned to at least one area of pastoral responsibility for clinical pastoral work. Pastoral placement is negotiated with each trainee. Evening, weekend, and overnight assignments may be assigned depending on the clinical requirements of each unit.

Training Seminars

The UAMS CPE training program includes the following seminar components:

Case Study Review
Case studies are the principle learning tool in CPE and each trainee is required to present a case study of an actual pastoral encounter. Each member of the peer group will provide feedback on the particular case presented. The goal of the case study is to promote peer consultation and to foster pastoral competence.

Group Relations or Interpersonal Relationship Group
The peer group learning experience has a dual focus. First, it provides opportunities for trainees to explore various personal and professional issues that may arise during their ministry. Second, it allows an experiential study of group formation and development utilizing the group experience itself as an educational tool.

Various inter-disciplinary presentations are provided for the group's learning. CPE Supervisors and other professionals present information on pastoral, ethical, and health care issues. Trainees may also have the opportunity to offer a didactic of their own choosing.

Reading Reviews

Specific reading assignments will be issued during each unit of CPE and the peer group will meet at regular intervals to review the assigned reading materials.

Individual Supervision
Trainees meet one-on-one with a supervisor to review pastoral work, reflect on personal and professional growth, and evaluate progress toward individual learning goals which are established at the beginning of each unit. Individual supervision may be arranged upon trainee’s request.

Action Reflection in a Group Learning Process
The Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program at UAMS Medical Center engages in an action reflection model of learning, central to the CPE experience. The chaplain interns are involved in direct patient care and it is that experience and reflection on the actual pastoral encounter that fosters the chaplain’s learning. At UAMS Medical Center trainees are involved with people from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds. Trainees are assigned to specific areas, function as ecumenical chaplains, and are responsible for providing pastoral care to patients, families and staff. Trainees attend interdisciplinary meetings and participate with other professionals in providing patient care. Chaplain interns also share on call responsibilities, which provide learning opportunities in the midst of a developing health care crisis.

Key concepts in the action reflection learning process include:

1. Learning from experience, both personal and professional, through case study reflection, peer feedback, and the supervisory encounter in such a way as to shape future action.

2. Working with a peer group, to be held accountable and to hold others accountable, for personal and professional development.

3. Gaining awareness as a pastoral care giver while developing pastoral identity and authority.

For more information contact George Hankins Hull
Director of Pastoral Care & Clinical Pastoral education
Telephone %01-686-6888


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