Clinical Pastoral Education - VA Portland Health Care System
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VA Portland Health Care System

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Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education at VA Portland Health Care System

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Since 1993, the VA Portland Health Care System (VAPORHCS) Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Program has been providing clinical, experiential, professional education for spiritual care ministry for lay persons, theological students, and clergy of all faiths (pastors, priests, rabbis, imams and others) in the context of an integrated Veteran health care system. Students engage in such activities as spiritual care visits, peer group seminars, verbatim case conferences, patient care conferences, interdisciplinary team meetings and individual supervision. In the context of these activities, the student has the supervised opportunity to explore pastoral and personal identity, learn from and about interpersonal relationships, and examine their attitudes, values, culture and theological assumptions about life and ministry.

What is CPE?

Clinical Pastoral Education is interfaith professional education for ministry. It brings theological students and ministers of all faiths (pastors, priests, rabbis, imams and others) into supervised encounters with persons in crisis. Out of an intense involvement with persons in need, and the feedback from peers and teachers, students develop new awareness of themselves as persons and of the needs of those to whom they minister. Through theological reflection on specific human situations, they gain a new understanding of ministry. Within the interdisciplinary team process of helping persons, they develop skills in interpersonal and inter-professional relationships. One unit of CPE includes a minimum of 400 hours of clinical experience, supervision and education.

About VA Portland CPE
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Through its clinical placements, VA Portland is committed to providing a relational environment for learning which fosters human growth and dignity. The instructional curriculum embodies the mission of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, as well as the mission and vision of Veteran’s Health Administration, “to honor America’s Veterans by providing exceptional health care that improves their health and well-being.”

The CPE program’s philosophy is that the clinical method of learning is enriched by diversity and seeks to provide a relational learning environment that is participatory and collegial.  This philosophy is congruent with the mission and core values of the VA Portland Healthcare System, which is committed to being a workplace where diversity is honored and the whole health and well-being of employees and veterans are nurtured. As such, administrative personnel, Certified Educators, clinical mentors, and chaplain services staff are accountable for ensuring that appropriate standards of ethical conduct and protection of the rights of students and client populations served are maintained. 

Activities such as a daily gathering of staff and trainees for clinical collaboration and handoff, staff chaplain participation as clinical faculty in orientation, didactics, and clinical mentorships contribute to this relational and collegial learning environment. In addition, the VA commitment to training America’s future healthcare providers as a training ground for other disciplines contributes to the sense of collaborative learning in the organizational culture.


Program Overview and Type of CPE Units Offered

We offer four programs:

  • Internships (Summer Intensive and Fall/Spring Extended programs),
  • One year-long Chaplain Resident Program
  • One year-long Chaplain Fellowship Specialty Program (Mental Health, Palliative Care)
  • Certified Educator Fellowship Program (3 year program and participation in ACPE Certification Process)

The residency, fellowship, and certified educator programs offer stipends ($32,074 for first year residents; $34,736 for 2nd year and CE fellowship programs), eligibility to participate in the federal employee health benefits, earned annual (vacation) leave and sick leave.

There is no application fee or tuition charged by the VA for CPE programs.


Tentative Upcoming CPE Units

Dates are tentative and subject to change.

2021-2022 Residency: September 13, 2021 – September 11, 2022

2021-2022 Fellowship: August 30, 2021 – August 27, 2022

Summer 2021 Intensive Internship:  June 7, 2021 – August 22, 2021

Fall 2021 Extended Internship: September 12, 2021 – January 31, 2022


Internship

VAPORHCS CPE Internship program is designed to enhance the personal, theological, and professional competency of clergy, religious, lay persons, and theology students.

Summer Intensive Internship Unit

The summer unit is a 10 to 11-week, full-time program typically beginning the second week of June and ending around the second or third week of August. In includes full-time work week, participation in the on-call rotation, and educational seminars during the work week. It’s open to seminarians, clergy seeking continuing education and qualified lay persons.

Extended Internship Unit

An extended unit is typically 24 hours per week for 17-20 weeks, including: a set schedule of direct patient service (clinical rounds during day, night on call shifts and weekend on call shifts) that is flexed to meet student’s individual schedule; 6 hours of formal class time each week, and weekly scheduled one hour of individual supervision. This unit is open to seminarians, clergy seeking continuing education and qualified lay persons.

Intern Admission Requirements;

The VA Portland Clinical Pastoral Education program follows the standards and guidelines of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. To be considered for admission, applicants must:

  • Complete an ACPE Application
  • An admissions screening interview (preferably onsite or video conference)
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; in progress or completed graduate work in theology, divinity, or equivalent is preferred.
  • Verified connections with a spiritual community

Program Learning and Service Expectations

  • Participate in all educational sessions including verbatim seminars, didactics, Interpersonal relationship groups, didactic seminars, and individual supervision, completing all written and educational requirements for the CPE unit.
  • Be mentored by Chaplain Service staff and share responsibilities as assigned to provide pastoral and spiritual care to patients, family members and staff.
  • Participate in the on-call rotation
  • Be able to provide professional communication and presence as part of spiritual care ministry

Cost: There is no tuition cost to the student


Residency Program

The VA Portland Residency Program is designed to develop and enhance the resident’s professional competence and professional identity as a spiritual caregiver. Chaplain Residents provide emotional and spiritual support to patient, families and staff at the VAPORHCS Portland Medical Center campus and the VAPORHCS Vancouver campus Community Life Center, and other specified clinical sites. Residents are under the supervision of an ACPE Certified Educator.
The CPE Residency Program is designated for one year, and students earn four units of CPE.

Admission Requirements;

Qualifications

  • Education: A high school diploma; a bachelor’s degree; and a master’s degree (MDiv or MA in Theology, or an equivalent degree in other related disciplines such as spirituality, ministry, or religious education) from an accredited college, university or theological seminary or institute; or ordination from a recognized Jewish Seminary. Successful completion of at least one previous unit of ACPE Certified CPE™ is required.
  • Licensure/certification:Evidence of good standing within a faith group such as ordination, endorsement, or commissioning.
  • A potential CPE Resident shall have a:
  • Proven aptitude for interpersonal work, sound mental/emotional health, and the ability to minister in cross-cultural, interfaith settings: This includes the capacity to consistently establish and maintain relationships, to be open to learning, change and growth and an openness to developments in faith and theology, spiritual and personal growth, outreach through compassion and justice. It also includes the capacity to endure at least moderate amounts of organization stress with a flexibility and openness to rapid change in acute care hospital-based ministry. Strong written and interpersonal skills are required as well as the abilities to actively listen and project an open, nonjudgmental attitude toward all people of diverse ethnic, social, cultural and spiritual traditions and previous experience in ministry in pastoral care and/or health care settings is preferred
  • Completed ACPE application with evidence of successful completion of a previous unit of ACPE Certified CPE™
  • Submit signed copies of Level I evaluations (student and supervisor) indicating successful achievement of CPE Level I outcomes
  • Participate in an on-site or video conference admissions interview
  • Actively participate in all aspects of the clinical pastoral education program
  • Share clinical rotations with peers, other students, permanent staff, providing pastoral and spiritual care to patients on assigned units
  • Participate in the on-call rotation, including holidays
  • Complete written assignments such as verbatim reports, reflection papers, evaluations of each CPE unit and other assignments as required
  • Participate in a mid-year consultation and assessment process to move to Level II
  • Complete a ministry specialty/clinical research project as a Part of Level II CPE to present to peers and staff
  • As a VA employee, you will earn a stipend of $32, 074 for the year, plus eligibility for enrollment into health insurance at the same rate as all VA employees, and accrue annual leave and sick leave (both 4 hours per pay period).

Program learning and service expectations

Benefits

Cost

VA does not charge tuition or fees associated with the four units of CPE you will earn upon successful completion of the program.


Fellowship Program

Currently, we offer four fellowship positions for specialized training: two in mental health and two in palliative care.  Each of these specializations provide opportunities for our trainees to be in interdisciplinary training programs which are locally developed and supported by our facility’s Education Service.  Trainees from the disciplines of psychology, social work, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy have opportunities to meet regularly in joint didactics and case presentations, as well as joint patient care experiences.  These advanced training opportunities give our students the experience needed to move into professional chaplaincy/spiritual care opportunities as leaders in health care and spiritual care.

Admission Requirements;

Qualifications

  • Education: A high school diploma; a bachelor’s degree; and a master’s degree (MDiv or MA in Theology, or an equivalent degree in other related disciplines such as spirituality, ministry, or religious education) from an accredited college, university or theological seminary or institute; or ordination from a recognized Jewish Seminary. Successful completion of four units of ACPE Certified CPE™ is required.
  • Licensure/certification:Ordination and/or endorsement by an established denominational or church authority/or religious superior is preferred, as evidence of good standing within a faith group.
  • Other qualifications:A potential CPE Fellow shall have a(n):
    • Proven aptitude for interpersonal work, sound mental/emotional health, and the ability to minister in inter-cultural, interfaith settings: This includes the capacity to consistently establish and maintain relationships, to take initiative and function professionally in a clinical environment, to be open to feedback to enhance learning, change and growth and an openness to developments in faith and theology, spiritual and personal growth, outreach through compassion and justice. It also includes the capacity to endure at least moderate amounts of organization stress with a flexibility and openness to rapid change in acute care hospital-based ministry. Strong written and interpersonal skills are required as well as the abilities to actively listen and project an open, nonjudgmental attitude toward all people of diverse ethnic, social, cultural and spiritual traditions and previous experience in ministry in spiritual care and/or health care settings is preferred.
  • Completed ACPE application with evidence of successful completion four units of ACPE Certified CPE™
  • Submit signed copies of Level I evaluations (student and supervisor) indicating successful achievement of CPE Level I outcomes
  • Participate in an on-site or video conference admissions interview with VA Portland Health Care System Educators and admissions committee
  • Actively participate in all aspects of the clinical pastoral education program
  • Share clinical rotations with peers, other students, permanent staff, providing pastoral and spiritual care to patients on assigned units
  • Participate in the on-call rotation, including holidays
  • Complete written assignments such as verbatim reports, reflection papers, evaluations of each CPE unit and other assignments as required
  • Participate in a professional consultation in preparation for board certification
  • Complete a ministry specialty/clinical research project as a Part of Level II CPE to present to peers and staff
  • As a VA employee, you will earn a stipend of $34, 736 for the year, plus eligibility for enrollment into health insurance at the same rate as all VA employees, and accrue annual leave and sick leave (both 4 hours per pay period).

Program learning and service expectations

Benefits

Cost

VA does not charge tuition or fees associated with the two units of CPE you will earn upon successful completion of the program.


Certified Educator CPE Fellowship Program

Certified Educator CPE is designed for qualified persons with demonstrated pastoral, professional, and clinical competence. Certified Educator CPE students engage in a three-year residency program designed to teach them the art of pastoral supervision through education in supervisory theories by using conceptual models drawn from theology, behavioral science and education. Students will practice under the supervision of a CPE Certified Educator. They will form their identity as educators through a focus on integrating theory and practice with their distinct, personal attributes and life history. They will also learn through peer group seminars where the emerging supervisor's understanding and practice are tested and modified. Please contact CPE Program Director, Chaplain Melinda Holloway for more information about our Certified Educator CPE program.

Center Annual Notice

  • This ACPE CPE center and program guarantees to its students the rights to inspect and review education records, to seek to amend them, to specified control over release of record information, and to file a complaint against the program for alleged violations of these Family Education and Privacy Act (FERPA) rights.
  • Directory information at this center includes the student’s name, date of birth, previous education, photograph, and the denomination or faith group of which they are a part. Students may opt out of public disclosure of this information by informing the Chief of Chaplain Service in writing of their request.
  • Student records are outlined in the Student Records Policy and may be digital/electronic or on paper. Student records contain the following information: Student unit evaluation, Supervisor’s evaluation for each unit, application for the program, letters of reference or other communications associated with the application process. Digital records have at least one back-up separate from the original hardware location and are updated at least monthly.
  • Student records management falls under the direction of ACPE Certified Educators at this center. A student has the right to object to record content. If not negotiable, the written objection will be kept with and released with the record. Grades are exempt from this right.
  • A student’s record will not be released without the written consent of the student.
  • Those with access to student records are under the direct supervision of the Chief of Chaplain Service, CPE Program Director, Certified Education Fellows under the direct supervision of an ACPE Certified Educator and enrolled as an CEF at this center, other certified ACPE Certified Educator contracted to supervise units of CPE, and the Administrative Assistant of the department. Each of these persons is considered “education officials.” Others with a “legitimate education interest” includes human resources and the VA Portland Designated Education Officer. Those with “legitimate education interest” may review an educational record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibility for the administrative, educational, or research purposes carried out by the CPE program.
  • Violations of Annual Notice protocols may be reported to the Chair of the Accreditation Commission at: ACPE, 55 Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard, Atlanta, GA 30308.

For more information or any questions about the VAPORHCS CPE Program, please contact:

Chaplain Melinda E. Holloway, ACPE Certified Educator
CPE Program Director
Melinda.holloway@va.gov
(503) 220-8262 ext 51758