Friday, January 13, 2012

CPE graduates reflect on past, plan for future


 GRADUATION CEREMONY: From left, Perreault, Graham, Brennan, Hurley, Kelleher, Perry and Zollfrank

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) graduates stood at the front of the MGH Chapel to present a sampling of their reflections and outcomes from the program: Be a better listener. Renew and strengthen my original call to my profession. Be welcoming and accessible to all. Improve the quality of family-centered care. Be more attuned to spiritual distress in my patients.

During the Interfaith Graduation Service on Dec. 20, the graduates – Stephen Brennan, RN, Rev. Lorna Graham, Cynthia Hurley, Michael Kelleher III, Sarah Perreault, RN, and Rev. Catherine Perry – celebrated their completion of the program by sharing readings, songs and poems with family and friends in attendance. “Mass General and the Schwartz Center share a firm commitment to compassionate care of the body, mind and spirit. It’s such an accomplishment to complete a CPE program, and they have lots to be proud of and to celebrate,” said Rev. Angelika Zollfrank, MDiv, BCC, ACPE, director of CPE.

The interdisciplinary CPE Program for Advanced Chaplain Interns and Health Care Professionals is a 16-week program held three times each year. This most recent session included staff from area hospitals, as well as three MGH chaplain interns. During the program, students learn how to provide spiritual and culturally sensitive support to help improve the overall care of patients. “To provide support without superimposing any spiritual beliefs, that’s what this is about,” Perry said. “I learned that each of the health care providers in my peer group view their professional role at least in part as service to God. And I realized that they often need just as much care as families and patients.”

At the end of the ceremony, Zollfrank and Michael McElhinny, MDiv, director of the Chaplaincy, presented certificates to the graduates. “Patients don’t come to the hospital for spiritual care. But when they experience cultural and spiritual sensitivity, they know they are in the best place,” Zollfrank said.

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