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Spiritual care professional education opportunities

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Canadian Association for Spiritual Care
Vancouver School of Theology 

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

Vancouver Coastal Health is fully accredited as a teaching Centre with the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC). We have been conducting both basic and advanced Clinical Pastoral Education through our Spiritual Care and Multi-Faith Services  at Vancouver General Hospital
for decades and were approved by CASC to add Richmond Hospital as a teaching site in 2019. Basic, Advanced and Supervisory levels of education are all being provided currently. CPE is taught in an interfaith context to people from all faith traditions and walks of life. After completion of two basic units and one advanced unit, if one has a M.A. degree in Theological studies or equivalent one can become eligible to apply for positions in BC public health facilities to work as a Spiritual Care Practitioner. Theological schools may also require their students to take CPE units as part of their training to be a minister or denominational chaplain. Please see below under VST for more information.

Usually there is one Extended (Sept – April) and one Intensive (April – August) being taught in a calendar year at VGH. Other teaching sites may start operating in hospitals under VCH in the future.

For general information, please contact:

Phone: (604) 875-4111 Ext. 68875

Course times and details

Fall/Winter Extended Unit

Vancouver General Hospital offers an Extended Unit of CPE with a schedule designed to meet the needs of students who are taking other coursework, working part time or in a flexible full time position. The unit typically runs from the 2nd or 3rd week of Sept to the first week of April. For 2019 group sessions will be on Tuesdays with the first class being Tues Sept 17, from  2:00 -8pm. Time slots for individual supervisory sessions and ward assignments will depend upon the schedule of each hospital ward as well as each student's availability. Students are expected to average 8 hours per week on the hospital wards, to be delivered on 2 separate 1/2 days each week between 8 am and 6 pm Monday – Friday. This time is spent, providing bedside spiritual care and attending inter-professional team meetings. Average weekly commitment on site for all functions will normally total 12 hours. All advanced students and basic students who are deemed to have sufficient competencies may also provide a week of on call after hour service. Students enrolled in intercession are not required to be at the hospital for their clinical hours for the week of Jan VST Intensives. Two weeks of December holidays, will be observed for group sessions but students remaining in the city may elect to continue ward visitations as long as the supervisor is on site, in order to reach their 200 clinical hour requirement. The Tuesday group session continues to meet during reading weeks. During the first two week of classes there will be some additional group session times negotiated in addition to the regularly scheduled group times in order to prepare students for the wards. The normal application deadline is, July 10 but may be extended if the unit is not filled by that date. Application forms cannot be processed until after a screening interview is conducted by the supervisor at VGH.

Spring/Summer Intensive Unit

A spring/summer intensive unit is also offered most years. An intensive unit involves a commitment of 40hrs per week on site over the course of 12 weeks. The 2020 unit will start Mon May 04  and end on July 24. There are no breaks except for statutory holidays. The content and design of the unit is the same as the fall/winter unit described above despite its being condensed into a 12 week period of time. The normal application deadline is Feb 30th  but may be extended. Credit for an intensive unit is the same as for an extended. For further information, or to make application, contact the CPE supervisor listed below. Application forms cannot be processed until after a screening interview is conducted by the supervisor at VGH

For more info, contact:

Doug Longstaffe
Profession Leader
Phone: (604) 875-4643

Post CPE Residency

Subsequent to completing all CPE units students may apply for a residency that includes a stipend. This may be formatted as one full-time position or two half-time positions. The residency is at done at VGH through directed studies in an area of specialization in conjunction with the Vancouver School of Theology and the VGH Teaching Supervisor. Residencies are renewable up to two years. A post-graduate diploma may be incorporated.

Vancouver School of Theology (VST)

We have partnered with VST where students are able to take a Master’s degree in Public and Pastoral Leadership (PPL) in Spiritual Care with CPE units as a part of it. The Spiritual Care stream of this degree was designed to meet the certification requirements of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care as well as the Province of British Columbia’s  Framework for Spiritual Care Practitioners. Learn more about VST's PPL in Spiritual Care Graduate degree program

Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC)

The BC Ministry of Health requires all Spiritual Care Practitioners, to have achieved the equivalent of 2 basic units and one advanced unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. In Canada this training is provided by supervisors certified by the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care. CASC is a national multi-faith organization, committed to the professional education, certification and support of persons providing spiritual care, pastoral counselling, education and research. It provides educational programs for interested persons who are preparing to become professional providers of Spiritual Care and Pastoral counselling in a variety of institutional and community settings such as health care, corrections, education and private practice.

Visit the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care website

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