Clinical Pastoral Education
The Pastoral Care Department at Baton Rouge General is dedicated to providing
spiritual care and support to our patients, family members and staff.
But we are also dedicated to the development and training of those called
to provide ministry to the sick. We are the only hospital in Baton Rouge
that offers extended Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), a program that
is accredited by The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy
(CPSP). Trainees may seek membership in one of the local CPSP chapters
where they may obtain board certification as a chaplain or pastoral counselor.
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is graduate-level theological and professional
education for ministry that takes place in a clinical setting. CPE trainees
learn the art and skills of pastoral care by providing support to patients,
families and staff, and then reflecting on their ministry experiences
with a certified CPE Diplomate Supervisor and a small group of peers.
In addition to learning skills and expanding knowledge related to ministry
in a healthcare setting, trainees learn about themselves and how their
personal histories, faith perspectives and individual gifts influence
their pastoral and professional functioning. Trainees have the opportunity
to shape their learning by setting their own goals and by seeking experiences
and resources to assist in meeting those goals.
The clinical learning method is a dynamic and creative process that combines
action (the actual practice of ministry) and reflection (using resources
such as written visit reports, discussion and feedback from peers and
CPE Supervisor). The resulting learning cycle enables trainees to expand
their skills and knowledge while deepening their self-awareness and self-knowledge.
From this process, new ministry and relational choices and responses are
available to the student.
CPE is appropriate for seminary trainees preparing for ordained ministry,
ordained clergy who desire continuing education in pastoral/spiritual
care, and qualified lay persons who desire advanced pastoral care skills
to use within their faith communities. Lay persons and clergy may also
take CPE to discern a ministry vocation in chaplaincy, and CPE is the
primary clinical training modality for those preparing for professional
hospital chaplaincy, including people from many faiths, denominations,
and ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
Potential students typically take a first unit of CPE. If the CPE experience
confirms their interest, it is recommended they continue training. The
national certifying professional chaplaincy organizations typically require
a total of four CPE units as part of the certification requirements.
Each “unit” of CPE consists of a minimum of 400 hours combining
no less than 100 hours of structured group and individual education with
supervised clinical practice in ministry. CPE trainees are assigned to
patient care units to serve as a chaplain intern or resident. In addition
to visiting patients and families and interacting with the staff on their
assigned clinical areas, CPE trainees serve as on-call chaplains for after-hours shifts.
Baton Rouge General’s CPE curriculum is designed to facilitate trainees’
learning in pastoral formation, pastoral competence and pastoral reflection.
CPE provides opportunities to embrace the role of minister and learn pastoral/spiritual
care skills related to ministry, to develop abilities in self-reflection
and self-awareness, and to learn to use peers, supervisors and others
as resources for learning. CPE is done in a small group format, and each
CPE program typically has 4-6 trainees enrolled. Given the value of diverse
experiences, thinking and styles of ministry, the CPE Supervisors try
to create a small group with as much diversity as possible.
The peer group meets routinely each week in order to:
- Review and discuss student presentations of their pastoral visits, using
the resources of theology/spirituality, the behavioral sciences, and pastoral
care to develop greater knowledge and awareness of the dynamics and needs
present in the visit.
- Attend lectures or presentations of conceptual material relevant to learning
and serving in the pastoral role within this setting.
- Reflect on the peer relationships and on the dynamics within the peer group,
in order to learn more about oneself in relationship with others and as
a group member (peer supervision).
In addition to the group meetings, individual supervision occurs with the
CPE Supervisor on a scheduled basis giving the trainee opportunity to
discuss their specific learning needs and concerns. CPE trainees also
set their own learning goals at the program's start which helps personalize
their learning. Staff chaplains serve as resources and consultants for
the trainees' learning, both formally and informally.
It is important to note that while CPE shares some elements with traditional
classroom learning (such as lectures, required reading, and written visit
reports), there is a unique emphasis on using “here and now”
relationships – with patients, families, medical staff, pastoral
care staff, peers, and supervisor – as an avenue for learning about
ministry and ministry relationships. Through these relationships, students
can practice, experience and reflect upon issues of trust, respect, differences,
assertiveness confrontation and conflict as a way to grow in the self-awareness
and skills needed for ministry.
The CPE program at Baton Rouge General is supervised by Chaplain Pat Davis,
Director of Pastoral Care. Chaplain Davis is certified by CPSP as a Diplomate
of Pastoral Supervision. He has been in hospital chaplaincy since 1983
when he began his CPE residency at Southern Baptist Hospital in New Orleans.
Chaplain Davis received his undergraduate degree in Business Management
Studies from the University of South Alabama and Master of Religious Education
from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a Certified Clinical
Chaplain with The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy and
the Association of Professional Chaplains. He is a member of the CPSP
Jackson, Miss. Chapter, and is endorsed by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
He also serves as Director of the
Arts in Medicine program at Baton Rouge General.
How to Apply
Prospective students should complete an
application for CPE.
Tuition and Fees
Tuition for the first unit of CPE is $500. Subsequent units are $250 each.
Application, fees and tuition should be mailed to: Baton Rouge General,
Pastoral Care Department, 3600 Florida Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70806.