The curriculum for both the residency and intern programs is guided by the standards of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. The program has a strong commitment to understanding life from a theological perspective that is informed by the behavioral sciences and educational theory.
While basic skills and invitation to self-reflection are the foundation of the curriculum, there also is time for personal narrative theology and theological reflection. For example, exploring one's personal spiritual journey enhances a person's ability to help others explore theirs. Using the book resource "Mighty Stories, Dangerous Rituals" helps weave together narrative theology, developmental psychology and pastoral care rituals.
An intern CPE unit offers an overview of pastoral care ministry in a hospital setting. The emphasis is on pastoral identity and pastoral helping skills. Didactics on crisis ministry and bereavement as well as on building staff relationships equip students for intensive and extensive ministry. We offer a spring part-time and summer full-time internship. 400 hours of service and education are required.
Chaplain residents train for a year throughout Norton Healthcare facilities, serving as paid full-time employees. Our commitment is to help our chaplain residents become fully equipped to serve as competent pastors or chaplains at the end of their training. Resident curriculum includes spiritual assessment and interventions, systems theory, multidisciplinary experiences and greater depth in pastoral skills and self-reflection. In the final unit of a residency year, the educational focus is on transitions, interview skills and résumé writing as residents move toward "what's next."
Curriculum planning is ongoing and flexible at Norton Healthcare. We offer a dynamic program in which students learn about themselves, their relationships and their professional potential for ministry, based on the needs of the individual learner.
Former students speak:
"The CPE Program at Norton Healthcare is exceptional. The diversity of the hospitals and patient populations allowed for the practice of various types of ministry."
–Tara Nicholas, hospice chaplain, former chaplain resident, Presbyterian Church (USA) minister
"My CPE experience at Norton Healthcare has been deep and rich. Mary is a gifted and wise supervisor; my chaplain colleagues and the Norton Healthcare staff had a clear understanding of the role of chaplain and invited me as a student to walk in that role. My fellow students offered me invaluable insights into myself as a minister."
–Shannon Queenan, staff chaplain, Kosair Children's Hospital, Roman Catholic minister
"The CPE Program at Norton Healthcare allowed me to discover and learn in the areas of my ministry that I wanted to strengthen. I have been able to take what I have learned in CPE and adapt it to my own ministry in teaching pastoral care/counseling and in working with university students."
–Anne Windus, Baptist missionary, Manila, Philippines
"As a minister who is in transition, the CPE Program at Norton Healthcare has been an excellent place to be. The group and individual supervision is the best quality available anywhere. The clinical assignments provide the laboratory where helping skills that are being learned can be put into practice. The Pastoral Care staff here is more than willing to help reinforce the learning. The following descriptor words would best describe my experience here: challenging, comforting, buttressing, self-revealing, confronting, caring, life-changing, learning, growing, helping, equipping, soul-stirring."
–Joe Bradley, former chaplain resident, Church of Christ minister, chaplain, Clark Memorial Hospital
"At Norton Healthcare I was not treated as a student but rather as a full-fledged chaplain! The program instills in students a sense of self-worth, value and authority in the role. In addition to a variety of cases, people and circumstances, Norton Healthcare offers a supervisory team with excellent talents – I was listened to, valued, challenged and supported! This program was invaluable to me!"
–Angela Madden, former CPE student, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
graduate, Presbyterian Church (USA) minister
"I was sorry I was only able to take one unit of CPE. I loved the environment and the people."
–Ken Evans, former CPE student, Methodist minister, spiritual retreat director
"I would absolutely recommend Norton Healthcare CPE to others. I came into CPE 'kicking and screaming,' but now regret having to end the unit. This has been one of the most incredible life experiences that I have had and has taught me more in 11 weeks than all of seminary."
–Jack Mong, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary graduate, chaplain, Norton Hospital