|The Rev. Florine Thompson (front); the Rev. Christine Davis (back left); Rabbi Carole Gould (back right)
Last month was a milestone for three of HealthCare Chaplaincy’s supervisory education students who achieved “Candidacy,” the second of five steps on the way to becoming certified as a full educational supervisor by the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education.
Additionally, one student passed the fifth and final step to become a full supervisor and is now a member of HCC’s faculty.
The path to becoming an educational supervisor is difficult and demanding. It’s been compared to the process of earning a Ph.D.
“I feel happy that I’ve reached another milestone in my quest towards becoming a supervisor,” says the Rev. Florine Thompson, director of pastoral care and education at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. “I carried into my meeting with the certification committee all of the many voices of my community of teachers and learners.”
The Rev. Christine Davies echoes those thoughts. “I was so excited to be granted Candidacy status. For me, it is an affirmation of all of the hard work that I’ve done to get to this stage. I am looking forward to supervising my first group of chaplain-interns.”
Rabbi Carole Gould says, “I began my journey at HealthCare Chaplaincy, where I completed four units of CPE under terrific supervisors who inspired me to start supervisory training. With HCC’s guidance, I've now passed another milestone on the way to becoming a supervisor.”
|The Rev. David Fleenor
The Rev. David Fleenor, manager of pastoral care services and member of the clinical faculty at NYU Langone Medical Center, was approved for full supervisor status from associate supervisor. David says, “In 1998 I took my first unit of clinical pastoral education and fell in love with it. It was then that I began to dream of becoming a supervisor. When the committee granted me certification I cried because it represented the fulfillment of a long held dream. Being certified is the end of a long, meaningful training process and the beginning of what I hope and believe will be a rewarding career.”
All of the students said that HealthCare Chaplaincy prepared them well.
“Historically, speaking,” says Rabbi Dr. Bonita E. Taylor, associate director of HealthCare Chaplaincy’s clinical pastoral education program, “HCC has a terrific track record of choosing students who succeed in achieving their goals of becoming supervisors and who subsequently serve the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education in leadership positions.”
HealthCare Chaplaincy is leading the effort nationally to groom the supervisors who will educate the next generations of professional chaplains. Growing the cadre of supervisory students is a national priority for the chaplaincy profession, because the number of people who aspire to become chaplains far exceeds the number of trained educators.
Experts Teach Chaplaincy Interns About
Culturally Competent Patient Care
Semi-annual Educational Symposium is One of the Advantages
of HCC’s Clinical Pastoral Education Program
The Joint Commission, the independent organization which accredits hospitals, will require effective July 1 that hospitals meet standards of delivering culturally competent care, because it is a key factor in delivering safe, effective, ethical and respectful care to patients.
That is why “Cultural Competence and Sensitivity in the Context of Chaplaincy” was the theme of HealthCare Chaplaincy’s recent semi-annual Symposium with the more than 50 chaplaincy interns who currently provide care under the supervision of professional chaplains and educators at 10 major hospitals and medical centers in metro New York.
“HealthCare Chaplaincy has a long tradition of providing continuing education to both staff and students,” said Rabbi Dr. Bonita Taylor, who organized the event. “These semi-annual events offer the more than 50 chaplaincy interns who are registered in our clinical pastoral education programs a full day of presentations and workshops from which to choose. Staff and students are exposed to cutting edge topics from experts in the field of chaplaincy and medicine.”
What exactly do we mean by “culture” in this case?
- Culture is the learned or shared knowledge, beliefs, traditions, customs, rules, arts, history, folklore, and institutions of a group of people used to interpret experiences and to generate social behavior.
- Culture is not a thing; it is a process through which ordinary activities take on emotional tone and moral meaning for participants.
What is “culturally competent care?”
- Culturally competent care recognizes, understands and addresses the patient’s cultural beliefs, values, and practices. This includes how the patient presents his or her spiritual or religious identity, which experts define as “the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the signi?cant or sacred.”
Professional chaplains are cultural competency experts within a hospital’s interdisciplinary team
The Joint Commission says, “The emerging prominent role of the clinically trained, professionally board certified chaplain working with health care organizations in completing spiritual assessments, functioning as the ‘cultural broker,’ and leading cultural and spiritual sensitivity assessments for staff and physicians can be of great value.”
The morning’s keynote address, Understanding Culture’s Impact Upon Patient Experience, was delivered by senior consultant the Rev. George Handzo, and the Rev. Sue Wintz, managing editor of PlainViews®, HealthCare Chaplaincy’s online professional journal for chaplains and other spiritual care providers.
The afternoon’s address, Providing Competent Care to Persons With Visual Impairments, was given by Heather Marshall Fleenor, an educator who has a visual impairment herself.
HealthCare Chaplaincy staff ran four workshops well-received by the interns:
1. Cultural competency for the Hispanic Patient – led by the Rev. Paul Rickert, staff chaplain, Beth Israel Medical Center and NYU Langone Medical Center
2. Cultural competency for The Jewish Patient – led by Rabbi Carole Gould, supervisory resident, St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital Center
3. Cultural competency for the Muslim Patient – led by Imam Yusuf Hasan, staff chaplain, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
4. Creating the Professional Resume – led by Ed Haran, director of human resources & administration, HealthCare Chaplancy
One of the chaplaincy interns summed up the value of this educational event for her and her fellow students:
“Being relatively new in my embarkation in chaplaincy,” said intern Adele Labin, “I must confess that I’ve had many ‘aha and wow’ moments. Walking into that hall on Thursday and experiencing the congeniality and feeling the warmth exuded, was a culmination of so many of those very moments. Each ‘wow and aha’ lovingly wrapped and exquisitely packaged, bows, trimmings and all, and magnificently presented to us, with wisdom and compassion. It probably requires some training within the realm of chaplaincy to fully comprehend and extensively appreciate the gifts that were presented to us. I did and I do. I will be utilizing and enjoying them for many a time.”
Who Enrolls in Clinical Pastoral Education and Why
This semi-annual educational event is one of the reasons why HealthCare Chaplaincy’s clinical pastoral education program is so well-respected and an excellent choice for:
Clinical pastoral education is essential to anyone contemplating a career in professional chaplaincy or wanting to improve their patient-handling skills overall. To learn more about the unique advantages of HealthCare Chaplaincy’s clinical pastoral education program, visit us here.”
- People thinking about professional chaplaincy as a career – including their second career
- For clergy, for seminarians and for hospital volunteers who want to learn through hands-on practice, clinical supervision and academic study how to listen to and attend to patients and their loved ones more effectively, including:
- How to actively engage patients and their loved ones
- Establishing rapport and maintaining eye contact
- Paying attention and responding to both verbal and non-verbal communications
- Better understanding what you are observing during pastoral encounters
- Expand your practical knowledge about grief and bereavement, health care decision-making, caregiver support, conflict resolution, and the increasingly important areas of patient experience/satisfaction and cultural and religious diversity
The Art and Discipline of Clinical Pastoral Education: What I Learned on Shadowing a Chaplain
By Susan Spindler Jordan
Editor’s note: This is the second in two-part stories by Ms. Jordan.
As a relatively new trustee for HealthCare Chaplaincy, I was offered an opportunity to shadow a chaplain for a day—as part of trustee orientation. HealthCare Chaplaincy is governed by a volunteer board of trustees who provide oversight for strategic, administrative, fiduciary and fundraising matters. I was lucky to be assigned to the Rev. Dr. Sarah Fogg, director of pastoral care at St. John’s Riverside Hospital in Yonkers. Not only was she welcoming and informative, but watching her work with chaplaincy interns enrolled in clinical pastoral education helped me understand the importance of this work in a way no written words could have.
I arrived to find Chaplain Fogg talking with new chaplaincy interns about the concept of “active listening.” She gave an example: If a patient says, “I don’t see the point in living anymore,” a chaplain does not argue, give advice or try to solve the problem. The chaplain simply states, “It sounds like you are in a dark place.”
No judging, no arguing—the chaplain begins exploring the meaning behind the words, inviting the patient to go deeper.
As the patient responds, the chaplain explores further, helping the patient recover what was lost, or find new hope. Listening to patients this way creates a place of safety where patients can share their deepest feelings. Chaplain Fogg told her students, “You can bear to hear what the family cannot.”
One of Chaplain Fogg’s interns told the group about his hospital visit with a woman I will call Louisa. Expected to die soon, Louisa was struggling with a very specific issue and was not at peace. She believed that her daughters were better mothers when she was around, and she was concerned that they would not be able to parent as well once she was gone. I was interested in what Chaplain Fogg would say.
She questioned the student about what he wanted to do on his next visit with Louisa and asked him if Louisa had ever shared her concern with her daughters. The student thought that a conversation like this had not happened, so he planned to explore the idea on his next visit with Louisa. And so it goes: teaching and learning to explore whatever is important to the patient. Perhaps Louisa would decide to share her concerns with her daughters. Perhaps not. She might come up with a different solution that would suit her better. As long as there is a trained chaplain listening, exploring and helping interns, people like Louisa will keep finding new avenues of hope.
Hearing the chaplaincy interns tell their experiences and gain feedback from Chaplain Fogg, I was struck by the power of professional chaplaincy in the hospital. A dying patient is confused by pain and fear about what is coming. By making the patient’s needs the focus, by asking questions and opening avenues of thought, a chaplain can help a patient face the unknown with less anxiety and more openness. It’s very powerful.
At the end of the session with the chaplaincy interns, Chaplain Fogg asked them, “What are your concerns and anxieties?” I was struck by how much she truly cared for her students, checking in to see how they were handling this difficult work.