Here at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, we are accredited to offer ACPE Certified CPE – The Standard for Spiritual Care and Education. This accreditation provides the highest quality education for spiritual care professionals. We are accredited to offer Level 1 and Level 2 Clinical Pastoral Education. Our Residents work out of St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, WA, and Franciscan Hospice and Palliative Care.
In the midst of facing the challenges that arise with illness, patients and their loved ones often experience vulnerabilities that touch on various aspects of their lives. Illness and injury can disrupt one’s sense of meaning, purpose, hope and peace. Expressing and exploring what is weighing on one’s heart and mind with a chaplain resident who is carefully listening can help relieve the spiritual distress.
Spiritual care is about listening to stories and helping people discover and use their spiritual strengths and religious resources to navigate their circumstances. We believe spiritual care is essential to the care of people who come to our hospital with a wide range of needs. We value whole person care – mind, body, and spirit. The definition we use as a foundation for our work is: “Spirituality is a dynamic and intrinsic aspect of humanity through which persons seek ultimate meaning, purpose, and transcendence, and experience relationship to self, family, others, community, society, nature, and the significant or sacred. Spirituality is expressed through beliefs, values, traditions, and practices." Puchalski, C. M., Vitillo, R., Hull, S. K., & Reller, N. (2014)
Professional spiritual care upholds an ethic of respecting the faith, beliefs, and values of those we serve. While interactions with diverse populations can create tension for some students, it is our belief that good spiritual care can allow for each chaplain to maintain their own convictions while compassionately caring for others.
The intention of our program is to help chaplain residents learn the art and discipline of spiritual care in order to serve our patients and their loved ones thoughtfully, compassionately and with integrity.
Our program is founded on an educational context that is rooted in an action/reflection/action model of education. The practice of self-reflection is encouraged throughout our program. Understanding the self that we bring to our ministry and the hope of learning to stay in one’s own shoes when we are connecting with another is at the core of the formation of spiritual care practitioners.
Over the course of our residency a broad range of themes relevant to spiritual care are addressed using a variety of learning experiences that invite the practice of self reflection. The curriculum is designed to prepare people to become board certified chaplains. Some of the themes covered in didactics are:
The Open Group component offers an opportunity to practice being relationally present through demonstration of pastoral skills that include giving and receiving support and feedback, affirming and/or challenging one’s perspective, and making the invisible visible. Additionally, residents receive individual supervision weekly which is a time for one-on-one reflection between the student and Certified Educator. Writing, sharing and reflecting are a significant element to this program.
A key component of our program is clinical work. Each chaplain resident is assigned to specific clinical services for a period of time. The clinical assignments are rotated in order to give students a range of experience. In addition to the specific clinical assignments, chaplain residents experience responding to emergent needs in the hospital. Students are regarded as important members of both the chaplaincy interdisciplinary health care teams. The primary learning tool for clinical work is writing and presenting verbatim of clinical encounters for further reflection in the learning community that develops over time with peers in the program. In the process of presenting verbatim, students gain insights and understanding of their own functioning as well as viewing complicated life situations from different viewpoints. These insights can then be applied to future care.
Our intention is for our chaplain residents to participate in a breadth and depth of the professional chaplaincy. Our goal is to develop competent practitioners prepared for employment in health care or other types of caring ministry with awareness and competence.
We welcome and encourage people from diverse spiritual paths and backgrounds.
Each CPE program across the nation has the same standards yet with uniqueness to the institutions they reside in.
Our Residency program is full time (40 hours/week). We offer Level l and Level ll CPE based on the Outcomes defined by the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education. For further information on CPE, please go to www.ACPE.edu.
Other aspects about our program:
Interested applicants can email Vera Markovich or call 253-426-4631 for additional information.
Spiritual Care Services
1717 South J Street, MS 05-15,
Tacoma, WA 98405
Please make it payable to St. Joseph Medical Center. Typically, applications are reviewed beginning in the fall for the following residency year which begins mid-August.
Rev. Vera Markovich
Rev. Greg Nealon