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Clinical Pastoral Education Program

Educational excellence is one of the driving forces behind Loyola University Health System's (LUHS/Loyola) very existence. At LUHS, the Stritch School of Medicine educates new physicians; the Niehoff School of Nursing prepares graduate level nursing professionals; social workers, physical therapists and respiratory technicians are all placed at Loyola for part of their supervised internship. Training health care chaplains is one of the essential services of Loyola’s Pastoral Care and Education Department.

LUHS's Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Program offers intensive Intern units in Fall, Winter and Summer. Interns can pursue CPE for personal ministerial development, as a requirement for their seminary or ordination or as a step toward professional certification. At this time Loyola is unable to offer a salaried residency program. We do hope to again offer CPE residency in future years. (NOTE: Many hospitals require certification for full-time employment as a chaplain. In addition, the chaplain certifying agencies require a masters degree in theology, pastoral studies or spirituality.)

Clinical pastoral education is built upon adult- and student-centered process learning. Students focus their ministerial education by working with their supervisor and peers in articulating learning goals for each CPE unit. Midterm and final evaluations, along with other written assignments, allow each student to track his or her progress in realizing their goals.

Four elements are distinctive in Loyola’s CPE program:
(1) Pastoral Care chaplains serve as mentors and adjunct faculty for CPE students. Each CPE student chaplain teams with a staff chaplain and is integrated into patient care on the unit he or she serves at the medical center. The spiritual, religious and denominational/sacramental needs beneath the medical needs” focus the pastoral care provided to patient, family and staff -- from blessing a newborn to facilitating difficult end-of-life issues.

(2) Pastoral Care chaplains are highly integrated in providing care in crisis situations. LUHS administrative protocols require that a chaplain respond to every trauma, respiratory and cardiac arrest and also to every death. While on-call, student chaplains will minister to patients and families in a Level One trauma center where victims of car crashes, falls, gang violence or industrial accidents are rushed by ambulance or helicopter. Student chaplains will also daily hone their crisis ministry skills, as the general patient population at LUHS ranks in the top ten in the nation in acuity of illness and 30% of our 450 beds are ICU beds.

(3) Patient, family and staff care is why the Pastoral Care department exists, and so the CPE program strongly emphasizes clinical care. Thus, students generally are not permitted to arbitrarily take time off from patient care during their day to work on verbatims or other CPE written assignments. At the same time, CPE at LUHS does value reflection on clinical experience through 12 hours/week of group reflection.  In addition, students do not have overnight responsibilities. 

(4) The Jesuits are involved in health-care precisely because of their commitment to education. Thus the Loyola University Health System is intimately tied in with Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine and the Neihoff School of Nursing and every medical department in the hospital incorporates the training of students in its work. Unique, as far as we are aware, our CPE are integrated into a first year medical school course and attend some of the "Patient-Centered Medicine" lectures. Throughout the year, there are numerous opportunities to attend grand rounds in the medical and nursing schools, while often attending inter-disciplinary rounds on the medical units they are covering in the hospital.

Loyola's CPE program was initially accredited in 1974. Since 1997, Loyola University Health System has been dually accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops/Commission on Certification & Accreditation (USCCB/CCA). We were one of only 14 dually accredited centers in the country.  As of 2012, the USCCB has discontinued accrediting ministry training programs like CPE.  Loyola maintains its ACPE accreditation.

  • National Association of Catholic Chaplains
  • Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc.
  • The Association of Professional Chaplains

Loyola's CPE program operates under the auspices of the Pastoral Care and Education department. The CPE supervisors report to the director of pastoral care and education, Marie Coglianese.

Training in Ministry
LUHS CPE offers supervised clinical learning in both inpatient and outpatient settings, individualized mentoring by the staff chaplains and opportunities for working as members of interdisciplinary teams. Specialties include cardiology, with a heart transplant unit; oncology, with a bone marrow transplant unit and a large outpatient cancer center; ER/trauma, with a specialty burn unit; women’s and children’s health, including a 50 bed neonatal unit; neurology and neurosurgery with an inpatient rehabilitation unit; and general medicine, with dialysis and renal transplant services.

Loyola's pastoral care staff and student chaplains serve the diverse needs of patients, families and staff with an interfaith approach. Student chaplains learn ministerial skills to assist patients and families to draw upon their own spiritual resources for healing and wholeness. At Loyola, chaplains address what we describe as “the needs beneath the medical needs.” Whether patient or family are in the midst of a sudden crisis or an ongoing chronic struggle, our chaplains are available for:

Spiritual needs:

  • searching for meaning and hope
  • dealing with suffering, loss, grief, change or discouragement
  • celebrating relief, healing, gratitude
  • ethical decisions regarding continuing or discontinuing treatments


Religious concerns:


  • prayer, scripture, faith
  • reconciliation, forgiveness
  • grace-filled moments
  • other ways God is present (or not) in life


Specific sacramental or denominational needs:


  • communion, reconciliation, baptism, blessing
  • anointing of the Sick
  • a bible or other spiritual resource
  • community or church concerns
  • contacting church, parish, synagogue, mosque, or other house of worship


Once oriented to Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), a typical day for a CPE student involves a half-day ministering as a chaplain and a half-day for various seminars. Group sessions include verbatim presentations, story theology, didactic input classes and open seminars. In addition, each student meets weekly for individual supervision. Students also enter the rotation for evening and weekend shifts.


Other learning opportunities at the medical center include: grand rounds pertinent to pastoral care (e.g., ethics and psychiatry), pastoral care staff meetings and in-services, CPE retreat/reflection days, medical center on-going education opportunities like the health fair and presentations for area pastors and ministers sponsored by pastoral care outreach days.

Formats for CPE at LUMC

(1) The CPE intern quarter is a full-time program (50 hours/week) and usually runs for 11-12 weeks. Our next openings are in Fall 2012. Call the number below for exact dates for future units.

Loyola charges a $25 application fee. Tuition for interns is $500. Upon successfully completing the quarter, students earn one unit credit with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) or the National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC).

(2) CPE residency is a year-long training program that provides a stipend and will allow the student to pursue certification as a chaplain in the Association of Professional Chaplains, the National Association of Catholic Chaplains or the National Association of Jewish Chaplains. For certification, these associations require a masters degree in theology, pastoral studies or spirituality. Many hospitals require certification for full-time employment as a chaplain.

At this time Loyola is unable to offer a salaried residency program. We do hope to again offer CPE residency in future years. 

(3) For people who are working or are not free for internship or residency, some CPE Centers offer extended units. Presently, Loyola offers an Extended limited to Army Reserve and National Guard chaplains who do their clinical work at Hines VA Hospital.

Contact Us

For more information about Loyola's Clinical Pastoral Education, call (708) 216-3585.