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Why Train at Upstate?

CPE is more than visiting patients in a hospital.

We are multicultural and broadly interfaith, respecting all traditions in a caring setting. Our interns come from a broad range of faiths, including Roman Catholic, American Baptist, Presbyterian, Zen Buddhist, Islam, Jewish, Episcopalian and United Methodist. In addition to the United States, our interns have come from Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana and Turkey. They have been laypersons, seminarians, ordained ministers and rabbis, and from religious orders.

We offer a spectrum of clinical opportunities for ministry that combine general exposure to the hospital setting and the opportunity to create a ministry specialty. Interns join regular interdisciplinary rounds on assigned clinical units such as oncology, orthopedics, pediatrics or neurology and chart in the medical record. Level II students have the opportunity to develop a clinical specialty, such as Palliative Care. All interns serve as the "duty chaplain," providing evening coverage in the Emergency Department, following referrals and making pre-operative visits.

We offer a special focus on end of life ministry and working with trauma through the rich resources of academic medicine. Our interns learn brain death criteria from the Department of Emergency Medicine's simulator manikin, interact with third-year medical students in the Educating Physicians at End of Life (EPEC) curriculum, participate in a simulated trauma code in Trauma Service's Let's Not Meet By Accident program and provide support to families in the organ donor process.

We strive to build a bridge between the hospital and the surrounding community, beginning with orientation. A tour of Syracuse introduces interns to systems issues such as poverty and the lack of education, health insurance and other resources. In addition, interns have toured the city jail, worked in an area soup kitchen and visited community service agencies.

We offer the opportunity for daily worship participation and leadership. With the opening of the new Interfaith Golisano Children's Hospital Chapel, we have two Chapels as well as two Spiritual Care Channels to broadcast live worship. Interns rotate the responsibility to lead, produce and critique these worship services. Interns also have the opportunity to participate in Roman Catholic Mass, ecumenical prayer services, children's services, Shabbat programs and Jum'ah Islamic community service.

We see the arts as an integral part of the expression of the Spirit for both our patients and our own self-understanding. Interns workwith an artist to explore the unconscious through creative mediums such as mandalas, visual journaling and mask making. They are invited to join the hospital choir in singing weekly at patients' bedsides. In addition, we attract music interns and volunteer musicians, such as a harpist, who play or sing on the patient floors. We invite you to bring your creativity into training as part of our desire to expand our spiritual care interventions.

We utilize Upstate's Standardized Patient (SP) Program to enhance self-awareness. Standardized patients are trained actors who serve as patients and enact a scenario with an intern and then provide feedback on the pastoral encounter. Interns have several SP encounters that are videotaped and reviewed in supervision.

We offer a network of experienced staff chaplains, spiritual care volunteers, a CPE Professional Advisory Council and CPE alumni. These individuals may serve with the Chaplain Interns, present didactics, participate in verbatims and provide clinical, emotional and spiritual support.

We continue to provide education and support to our alumni. Graduates of Upstate's CPE program who have completed at least one unit are invited to serve as Assistant Chaplains with charting privileges and the opportunity to attend interdisciplinary rounds. Monthly Spiritual Care Grand Rounds are held on topics that contribute to professional pastoral development. CPE Alumni who have four or more units of training are invited to serve as Associate Chaplains and join a monthly Clinical Pastoral Consultation group to prepare and present certification materials in anticipation of going before one of the national certifying boards.

What Our Alumni Say

Regarding the overall CPE program:

  • "I learned about myself and gained a deeper understanding of my theology and my relationship with God."
  • "This is an excellent program that played a major role in my formation as a pastor."
  • "I grew more as a pastor from this experience than any other I have had so far."

Regarding the CPE Supervisor:

  • "Rev. Terry challenges us in a non-judgmental way."

Regarding the opportunity to train with Standardized Patients:

  • "Watching oneself on video is a powerful teaching tool."

Regarding the small process group time called Open Agenda Group (OAG):

  • "The OAG was helpful in group building, created a sense of connection, was a time to process what had happened that day and get support, brought closure to the day and lightened the heart."