Program will standardize knowledge base for health care chaplains

Categories: Education.

The Spiritual Care Association (SCA) and The Institute for Clinical Pastoral Training (ICPT) today announced that SCA’s groundbreaking evidence-based curriculum will be infused into ICPT’s training model for professional chaplains and clergy. With ICPT’s sign-up, this marks the first clinical pastoral education (CPE) accrediting body to incorporate a standardized knowledge base into its education program, and denotes the next generation in training for spiritual care providers.

ICPT’s well-developed infrastructure and program include supervised clinical education sites worldwide, and in-class and long-distance education. Now, it will also feature SCA’s proprietary online courses authored by leading experts, required progression in learning objectives, and standardized testing-all of which are built around evidence-based knowledge.

These enhancements will prepare participants to provide the latest evidence-based, high-quality, standardized care to people in need of spiritual support in health care settings. The development comes as demand for spiritual care is rising from patients and their families, and as research mounts about its positive impact on medical outcomes and patient experience.

CPE is a form of chaplaincy internship in which students are taught through hands-on practice, clinical supervision, and academic study to provide comfort and meaning to people of all backgrounds and religions during illness, end of life, grief, or other spiritual distress.

“The need for standardization and advancement within the chaplaincy craft has become all too obvious. This collaboration between ICPT and SCA will be the remedy for many decades to come,” said Chaplain Ty Alday, ICPT’s CEO. 

Rev. Eric J. Hall, SCA’s president and CEO, called the development “a major step toward sustaining and growing” the profession of chaplaincy. “We are strengthening the concept that quality education equates to better quality of life for patients and their families,” Hall said. “Standardized knowledge sets the stage for health care settings to further integrate spiritual care into their organizations, and portends enormous value for individuals in distress.”

ICPT’s CPE program features four 12-week units per year, with each progressing in learning objectives. SCA’s courses and testing are based on a new model that incorporates the field’s first evidence-based quality indicators and scope of practice, or set of competencies, for professional chaplains. They were developed in recent months by two interdisciplinary panels of experts, convened by HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, an affiliate of SCA. These online courses are also available for interdisciplinary professionals through SCA’s Learning Center.              

About the Spiritual Care Association
The Spiritual Care Association (SCA), based in New York and Los Angeles, Calif., is a nonprofit, international organization with membership open to chaplains and other health care professionals, clergy and organizations. It is the first multidisciplinary, international professional membership association for spiritual care providers that establishes evidence-based quality indicators, scope of practice, and a knowledge base for spiritual care in health care. The nonprofit SCA is an affiliate of HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™ (HCCN), a health care nonprofit organization founded in 1961. 

About The Institute for Clinical Pastoral Training
The Institute for Clinical Pastoral Training (ICPT), based in Orlando, Fla., is a global chaplaincy community of inspired individuals caring for and about others, thereby bringing the gift of active compassion and kindness to the world. Its training focuses on working with all faiths to create both an awareness and collaboration for ministers and chaplains who are serving in the vocations to which they are called to serve. It strives to be a leader in the research, education and practice of pastoral care within health care, prison ministry, business, military, seminaries, and bible colleges.  It is dedicated to providing the highest standards for chaplaincy training worldwide.

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