Pastoral Context

Westchester Medical Center is an advanced care, Level I Trauma Center with the highest level of patient acuity in the nation. Offering spiritual care to our patients/families and staff requires maturity and a level of previous hospital experience. In order to maintain the highest standard of spiritual care, we are seeking exceptional candidates for the CPE residency and internship programs. Responding to the national move toward specialization for chaplains, WMC has designed 5 professional specialties for a Residency program. At the end of the 12-month training cycle, residents will be experienced in at least one specialty, have gained personal self-knowledge and authority and be ready to seek employment, moving toward successful certification as chaplains.

The CPE program at WMC is made up of 2 training options:

5 Full-time Residencies - Residents are assigned to one specialty area in the medical center for the 12-month long training program and will complete 3 Units of CPE. Residents will have completed their seminary, M. Div. or equivalent and at least one unit of CPE prior to applying to this internship. The CPE program will foster practical, pastoral and spiritual care skills and interns will gain self-awareness through active reflecting on clinical work with peers and supervisors. This program is designed for people in ministry who have completed most of the requirements toward seeking certification as chaplains or trained experienced clergy who are seeking a type of sabbatical or desirous of specialized ministry.

The specialty areas are:

  1. The Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital (including the Peds ER,PICU, NICU);
  2. The Trauma Service (Emergency, ICU’s, Peri-op, and Burn unit);
  3. Medical /Surgical (including Cardiology, CCU, CTCU, Transplant);
  4. Medical/Surgical (Oncology/BMT, MICU, and Palliative Care);
  5. Medical/Surgical (Women/infants, Labor and Delivery, Bariatric, Orthopedics and Orthopedic Rehab. and Neurology units and ICU):
  6. Behavioral Health (in-patient and out-patient pediatric and adult psychiatry).

As well as these specialties, Residents will have evening shift assignments each week in which they will respond to codes, emergencies, and deaths throughout the hospital to experience the wider context of a major medical and Level I Trauma Center. All ministry interventions are entered into the patients' medical records.

5 Part-time Internships - Interns are assigned to one critical care area in the medical center for the 20-week CPE unit. Interns will have completed at minimum, a Bachelor’s level college degree and some theological training prior to applying to this internship. The CPE program will foster practical, pastoral and spiritual care skills and interns will gain self-awareness through active reflecting on clinical work with peers and supervisors. Interns will have an evening shift each week in which they will respond to codes, emergencies, and deaths throughout the hospital to experience the wider context of a major medical and Level I Trauma Center. All ministry interventions are entered into the patients' medical records.

To support their ministry in the clinical pastoral context, all CPE residents and interns have access to WMC's extensive medical resource centers, with resources in several media, and The New York Medical College medical library. In the CPE Center offices, they have access to computers with word-processing software, Internet, e-mail access, and photocopying facilities.

Clinical assignments are made collaboratively with the resident or intern, the Director for Chaplaincy Services, and the medical units to be sure the relationship will best serve the needs of all concerned. These are balanced with what the CPE Educator determines are the particular learning needs of the intern and sometimes the learner's expressed preference. Reports of clinical work and theological reflection papers emerge from the "living human documents" or the people served through these clinical placements. Unit/Staff Chaplains will be ‘clinical supervisors’ in relationship with the residents/interns, may participate in the training as invited, and may also be a resource for student assessment on the units served.

The Clinical Pastoral Education and the Chaplaincy Services Department are united in their commitment to the delivery of optimal quality emotional and spiritual care to our patients and their support persons as well as to our multidisciplinary colleagues, consistent with WMC's standards of excellence. As a well-established component within WMC's role as a teaching hospital, our Clinical Pastoral Education programs demonstrate a positive relationship between service and learning consistent with WMC standards of care.

Westchester Medical Center's Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Center offers professional education leading to eligibility for board certification and employment in chaplaincy and is fully accredited through the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE), Inc., of Decatur, Georgia, and the U.S. Department of Education. All WMC CPE programs are conducted by an ACPE Certified Supervisor with an interdisciplinary faculty chosen from a wide range of WMC professionals.

Through supervised delivery of emotional and spiritual care, residents and interns of various faiths and cultures learn new pastoral skills to attend to persons in crisis and situations of spiritual/emotional need. By intense involvement with persons in these types of situations and the feedback from peers and supervisor, participants develop new awareness of themselves as individuals and of the needs of those to whom they minister. From theological reflection on specific human situations, residents and interns gain a new understanding of ministry and develop skills in inter-personal and inter-professional relationships through an interdisciplinary team approach of helping persons in a care-giving alliance.

By concept and design, Clinical Pastoral Education at WMC offers a variety of configurations and environments in which the complex dimensions of diversity (e.g. - of spirituality, of learning styles, of vocational formation, of culture and ethnicity) are valued, affirmed, and honored.