HealthCare Chaplaincy Network Makes A Statement Regarding its Clinical Pastoral Education Program

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HealthCare Chaplaincy Network's Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program will now be accredited by the Institute for Clinical Pastoral Training (ICPT).

With this announcement, HealthCare Chaplaincy Network and the Spiritual Care Association have taken the steps required to be the leaders of change that the pioneers of chaplaincy and decades of leaders envisioned.

HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) announced today it will transition its Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program to the Institute for Clinical Pastoral Training (ICPT) as its accrediting body.

HCCN makes this move to better align chaplaincy training with the current demands of U.S. health care, citing a strong demand signaled from the health care chaplaincy movement for major changes in the way their chaplains are educated and how education is evaluated.

“With today’s announcement, HealthCare Chaplaincy Network and the Spiritual Care Association have taken the steps required to be the leaders of change that the pioneers of chaplaincy and decades of leaders envisioned,” said Rev. Eric J. Hall, President and CEO of HCCN and SCA. “We are committed to preparing and empowering chaplains to provide high value and quality spiritual care to patients, families and staff in the continually changing and demanding field of health care.”

Current objective competency testing, established and provided by the SCA, shows significant variances among professional chaplains in critical areas such as communication skills, HIPPA compliance, spiritual assessment and appropriate documentation. The SCA is the only organization in the U.S. that is actively working to address these inadequacies to improve the knowledge, skills, competency and evidence-based practice of chaplains.

The lack of standardization needed to demonstrate chaplaincy’s value and quality-based care is the most significant obstacle currently facing the professional chaplaincy field. In response, HCCN and the SCA have made grounds in developing a criterion for preparation, education, experience and clinical care competency with an eye toward intervention reimbursement and the inclusion of chaplaincy in any future reimbursement model.

Additionally, HCCN’s efforts to move the field of health care chaplaincy forward include the introduction of standards that allow for virtual CPE. The transition of HCCN’s CPE program to the ICPT is part of a commitment to ensuring this, and that all methods and settings of chaplaincy training meet educational standards for the benefit of both students and patients.

ICPT, which has emerged as a creative and innovative organization within health care chaplaincy, is a candidate to receive Department of Education accreditation, and is working closely with the SCA to incorporate evidence-based standardized curriculum into the CPE experience. Other standardizations being explored include methods of spiritual assessment, documentation, taxonomy, interventions and other quality indicators essential to chaplaincy care. Most importantly, all students will participate in objective competency testing to assure they are properly prepared to provide clinical care.

“All of us who have been in the field of spiritual care understand the system of education, preparation, testing, and certification is long overdue for this change,” said Hall. “We support current systems because of what they are historically. We have a clear sense, however, that they are not what we need for the future.”

As of June 2018, CPE units will be accredited solely by the ICPT, allowing students time to fulfill currently scheduled courses.

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Charysse Harper
HealthCare Chaplaincy Network
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