Here at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, we are committed to the development of spiritually mature, sophisticated chaplains who inspire the confidence of those they serve. We begin with valuing personal elements in our students as espoused by our values of compassion, integrity, excellence, inclusion and collaboration. We believe in an educational context reflective of these values where students gain confidence and competence to learn and practice the art and discipline of spiritual care. We also understand the importance of conceptual material and theology that inform practice and assist our students to reflect deeply on the underpinnings of their care. This helps our students learn to think and speak cogently about their work and the value to the larger organization. This unique education equips our students to recognize and meet the nuanced spiritual needs in an increasingly diverse and complex world.
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a method of learning pastoral/theological reflection, pastoral formation, and pastoral competence within clinical settings. The curriculum emphasizes small group sharing of ministry cases in order to integrate theological and behavioral science concepts within the praxis of patient care. At Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, Interns/Residents learn and incorporate pastoral skills while functioning as chaplains in clinical settings which currently include options for both hospital and in-patient hospice. The scenic Pacific Northwest is the backdrop for the education.
The CPE programs are conducted according to ACPE standards. A single, full unit involves a minimum of 400 hours of supervised ministry, with no less than 100 of those hours dedicated to individual and group educational sessions and a half unit involves a minimum of 240 hours of supervised ministry, with no less than 60 of those hours dedicated to individual and group educational sessions. This education offers students the unique opportunity to learn in the context of doing—assisting them to apply concepts and insight from the classroom setting directly into their spiritual care practice. Students provide spiritual care to patients, families and staff approximately two-thirds of the time and reflect on those encounters through reading, writing, group classroom work and individual supervision, approximately one third of the time.
Our programs offer a diversity of placements within the Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, including:
The programs are configured in four different ways to meet the diverse full time and part time needs of our applicants and the spiritual care needs of patients, families, staff members, clients and the community as a whole.
Our Clinical Pastoral Education Internships are designed for clergy, qualified lay persons, seminary/theological education students and health professionals who hope to improve their spiritual care and identity as a caregiver. Many move on toward vocational chaplaincy while others seek to improve their ministry in other capacities and venues. Internships are structured with classroom education and patient visitation which includes regular visitation and scheduled on-call shifts to experience ministry to those in crisis. The frequency of these on-call shifts varies depending on the type of internship and the number of students in each group. Further, the length of the internship may vary, though all internships meet the requisite 400 hours of supervised ministry as mandated by the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education.
A part-time unit offered three times a year, beginning in January, May and September for 17-18 weeks, depending on the unit. Classroom education is approximately six hours a week typically on a Wednesday afternoon. Clinical ministry is an additional eight hours a week with specific schedules to be negotiated with students to offer flexibility. Additional hours are made up through a weekly on-call overnight shift at the hospital which augments the spiritual care student experience. During this shift the student responds only to emergencies and a sleep room is provided.
Hospital Based: Time requirement- 40 hours/week
Hospice Based: Time requirement- 40 hours/week
*No on-call overnight shift required
Tuition: $400 per unit
A three-unit, year-long intensive residency experience is available for students who have successfully completed at least one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. Typically, Residents have a Master's Degree in Theology, Spirtual Care or Divinity and preference given to students with a single unit of CPE completed. The residency curriculum emphasizes spiritual assessment, grief work skills, family system concepts, medical ethics involvement and spiritual group leadership. The residencies are a paid position limited to 40 hours per week including class time. There is no on-call overnight commitment. Applications are recieved from September through Janurary with interviews and acceptance in the spring. Residences begin in September. An on-site internview is generally required before acceptance into a Resident year. For more information, see the Residency Requirements and Criteria for Selection of CPE Residents.
Action on admission will be taken within three weeks of receiving applications. Some flexibility is offered for tuition payment through installments and there is limited scholarship availability for those with financial need.