Education for Professional Chaplains: Should Certification Competencies Shape Curriculum?
The growing importance of professional chaplains in patient-centered care has raised questions about education for professional chaplaincy. One recommendation is that the curricula of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) residency programs make use of the chaplaincy certification competencies. To determine the adoption of this recommendation, we surveyed CPE supervisors from 26 recently re-accredited, stipended CPE residency programs. We found the curricula of 38% of these programs had substantive engagement with the certification competencies, 38% only introduced students to the competences, and 23% of the programs made no mention of them. The majority of the supervisors (59%) felt engagement with the competencies should be required while 15% were opposed to such a requirement. Greater engagement with chaplaincy certification competencies is one of several approaches to improvements in chaplaincy education that should be considered to ensure that chaplains have the training needed to function effectively in a complex and changing healthcare environment.