Hospital chaplains provide care for patients and their loved ones during seasons of life that can be scary and full of unknowns. Chaplains pray with patients and perform meaningful religious services, but they also receive specialized clinical pastoral education training to bring together health considerations and pastoral conversations as part of the larger healthcare team.
CPE is an important part of preparing chaplains for their work. This rigorous training program for spiritual care providers from all faith traditions is offered across the country by a variety of educational entities.
Adventist Health operates four nationally accredited CPE training centers on the West Coast — in Portland, Oregon, and in Bakersfield, Mendocino and Los Angeles, California. CPE training includes study of ethics, psychology and sociology; understanding and articulating research; facilitating trauma response; managing crises and more. All Adventist Health chaplains are required to complete CPE training.
“The mindset behind CPE is to develop a clinical identity alongside a pastoral identity,” said Leo Zakhariya, Adventist Health Portland CPE clinical supervisor. “As a clinical chaplain, you analyze each interaction with patients until you develop a clinical mindset focused on best outcomes. This is the difference between traditional chaplaincy and clinically informed chaplaincy.”