Clinical Pastoral Education Program

Training healthcare chaplains is one of the essential services of Loyola Medicine’s Pastoral Care and Education Department. Our Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Program offers intensive internship units in the fall, winter and summer. Interns can pursue CPE for personal ministerial development, either as a requirement for their seminary or ordination or as a step toward professional certification. 

Clinical pastoral education is built upon adult- and student-centered process learning. Students focus their ministerial education by working with their supervisor and peers and 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 or 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. Loyola University Health System administrative protocols require that a chaplain respond to every trauma, respiratory, cardiac arrest and death. While on call, student chaplains will minister to patients and families in a Level 1 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 Loyola ranks in the top 10 in the nation in acuity of illness; in fact, 30 percent of our 450 beds are intensive care unit beds.
     
  3. Caring for patients, family and staff is why the Pastoral Care department exists—and so the CPE program strongly emphasizes clinical care. 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 Loyola does value reflection on clinical experience through 12 hours a week of group reflection. Students do not have overnight responsibilities.
     
  4. The Jesuits are involved in healthcare precisely because of their commitment to education. Thus, Loyola Medicine is intimately tied in with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Every medical department in the hospital incorporates the training of students in its work. Our CPE students 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 interdisciplinary 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 had discontinued accrediting ministry training programs such as 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.

Training in Ministry

Loyola’s 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 kidney 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 in drawing 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 the following services.

Spiritual needs

  • Celebrating relief, healing, gratitude
  • Dealing with suffering, loss, grief, change or discouragement
  • Ethical decisions regarding continuing or discontinuing treatments
  • Searching for meaning and hope

Religious concerns

  • Grace-filled moments
  • Other ways God is present (or not) in life
  • Prayer, Scripture, faith
  • Reconciliation and forgiveness

Specific sacramental or denominational needs

  • Bible or other spiritual resource
  • Anointing of the Sick
  • Communion, reconciliation, baptism and blessing
  • Community or church concerns
  • Contacting church, parish, synagogue, mosque or other house of worship

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 ongoing 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 a week) and usually runs for 11 to 12 weeks. Call the number below for exact dates for future openings. Upon successfully completing the quarter, students earn one unit credit with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE).
     
  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 master's degree in theology, pastoral studies or spirituality. Many hospitals require certification for full-time employment as a chaplain. Loyola is reinstating its CPE Residency program with two stipended positions which will entail significant Night Chaplaincy work.
     
  3. For people who are working or are not free for internship or residency, some CPE centers offer extended units. Loyola does not.

Contact Us

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