The Essential Components of the UVM Medical Center CPE Curriculum

Learning Contracts - In accordance with the adult model of learning, students set their own goals for personal, professional, and theological growth in regards to pastoral ministry. This will be facilitated by the supervisor according to standards of ACPE.

Goal setting responds to the following: What do you want to learn personally and professionally? How will you learn it? How will you and someone else know you have learned it? The student discusses and revises goals with the supervisor and the peer group; they are a core element of the learning covenant and establish the relational aspect of the learning experience. The goals are frequently highlighted in supervisory sessions and are reviewed and revised at mid-term.

Individual Supervision - Is a time one on one with one's individual supervisor. During this time, learning goals, patient care and personal growth are focused upon. Since repetition is part of my theory I encourage frequent review from the students. I also believe in letting them as adults set the agenda for the meetings. If need be, I will take the initiative and seek clarification for unresolved issues or for areas of resistance.

Ministry Placement - The essential component of the Clinical Pastoral Education experience is the actual ministry with people. Students are assigned as chaplains to clinical areas of the hospital where they have responsibility to provide pastoral care with patients, families, and staff. The experience of being a chaplain gives them the chance to learn by action, to have the experience to reflect on and to try new pastoral responses. Each student will usually receive two placements. One placement is a more comfortable placement while the other will be a "stretch" for the student's learning experience. The client/patient is the "living human document" and provides the encounters that are formative for the student. The student participates in choosing his/her placement for ministry and spends 10 (extended) or 20 ( summer) hours weekly in that ministry.

Group Process - The student is a member of a group of at least three and not more than seven peers. At least one hundred hours of the required 400 hours total are spent with the group and/or supervisor in reflecting on ministry and topics relevant to ministry. The peer group participates in verbatim seminars, pastoral consultation, IPR (Interpersonal Relationships Seminar), didactics, reading discussions and supervisory conferences. Sessions included in the curriculum rest on the needs of the group.

Role-play Seminar - One of the elements that distinguishes the UVM Medical Center CPE summer unit is the role play seminar which is held every Monday immediately after staff check-in. Placing the role-play at the beginning of the week gets the student reinvigorated and reconnected to the program after having been away from group for the weekend. The role-play seminar provides an opportunity to experiment and practice ways that the intern would handle similar situations in their eventual full-time ministry placement.

Verbatim Seminar - These seminars review clinical work utilizing pastoral call reports and verbatims to analyze the dynamics of a visit. They focus on learning pastoral care by direct experience and the reflection of the group's experience and insight. Many students are surprised to learn that verbatim seminars are not really about the patient but rather about the student. There are important reasons for this. Ministry happens out of who we are as persons - our beliefs, our feelings, our fears, our strengths, and our weaknesses. CPE is designed to help participants learn about themselves in ministry so they might minister with more self awareness, deeper understanding of human nature, a more complete picture of God and an appropriate set of boundaries. Understanding how to minister to people in crisis is only a fraction of what a student learns.

IPR / Interpersonal Relations Seminar - IPR seminar is a time when peers gather as a group with no prepared content or agenda. This time allows students a forum within which to explore personal issues, interpersonal communications and group process and dynamics. They may offer feedback to others. They may receive feedback unsolicited from others. They learn to address issues in relationships and to deal with conflict. It is a time of learning communication skills that can support them in clarification, support and challenging themselves and others. This may be seen as a lab for trying new behaviors one may have avoided heretofore. Part of the group experience is to create an agreement or covenant for the group through which members share a commitment and responsibility for the life of the group. This is where much of the relational learning of CPE comes to focus for the students.

Lectures / Didactics - Special speakers and special teaching situations are scheduled throughout the CPE unit to enhance learning in areas of growing interests and ministry challenges. Lectures and seminars are offered to students on topics related to the pastoral care within a hospital setting, to health care, and other medical and pastoral topics. Many are selected in consultation with students or chosen as a result of the expressed needs of the students. One of the key didactics involved a visit to a local funeral home since many of the students were of the age that they had not seen the inside of a funeral home.

Worship - Worship involves the peer group gathering together to worship, pray and experience fellowship together. They learn means to design a worship that is interfaith in nature. The responsibility for worship is shared among the students. Each student has responsibility to conduct worship individually and one time with a person from a different faith tradition as a means to develop communication with a person of another tradition and to experience further interfaith worship.

Interdisciplinary Rounds - In addition students are encouraged to participate in their unit's rounds. Within the Hospital and medical community, lectures and seminars are offered and CPE students are welcomed. Interdisciplinary resource persons from other disciplines are available and many have active roles in the Chaplaincy programs and in the CPE unit. Interaction with the staff of the units to which the students are assigned and encouragement to communicate with the various members of the treatment team - nurses, physicians, social workers, clinical specialists, and other staff- are examples of the involvement of persons from other disciplines. Students are encouraged to attend staff meetings and case interdisciplinary rounds and to avail themselves of educational opportunities, lectures, grand rounds, offered in this clinical setting. There is a wealth of resources from which to draw and staff who are eager to be involved in educating others about their areas of specialty and expertise. As part of the team ministering to the patients the students learn and share from a wide perspective about the concerns and issues surrounding the patient and his/her family.

Consultations - We encourage students who feel they have completed the Outcomes of Level I or Level II to request an appropriate consultation. Preparation of papers and meeting a committee of professionals to defend various levels of competency, help the student prepare for certification.

Evaluations - At the midpoint and end of a CPE unit, students are evaluated. The midterm evaluation is written by the student and submitted to the supervisor. At the end of the program, a written evaluation is given to and received from each student. In these evaluations, information is presented as objectively and helpfully as possible to encourage the growth accomplished during the unit and the growth that is yet to come. Since these often become documents given to ordination or ministry committees, great care is given to being constructive and honest.

Exit Interview - On the last day of the program the students meet as a group and individually with members of the Professional Advisory Committee (PAC). This is a time for the students without the supervisor present to voice their concerns and affirmations of the program and/or supervisor. The PAC member who chaired the meeting writes up a report that is presented to the Director of Clinical Pastoral Education/Pastoral Care. This report gives the supervisor areas to enhance or to reform. The Director of Clinical Pastoral Education/ Pastoral Care also can see areas that are needed for change or affirmation within the department.

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