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Chaplains Graduate from NMCSD Residency Program

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MARCOA Media
Story by PO2 Zachary Kreitzer on 08/26/2019
SAN DIEGO The class of 2019 clinical pastoral educational (CPE) residency program graduated eight U.S. Navy and Veterans Affairs pastoral care residents Aug. 23, at Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD).

The CPE residency program is a year-long graduate course consisting of four quarters of theory and applied practice in pastoral care. The NMCSD CPE class of 2019 consisted of four chaplains headed to VA clinics around the country. The four active duty Navy chaplains are heading to deployable units, Naval hospitals and bases to support our Sailors and Marines around the world.

During his remarks, guest speaker Capt. Bradford Smith, commanding officer of NMCSD, spoke to the graduates about their hard work and the importance of their roles.

"The chaplains are critical to what we do and critical to the spiritual health of all who serve, integrating the physical needs with social needs and also spiritual needs," Smith said. "If we are going to have a medically ready force, they have to have all of those needs met, and what you have been studying and what you are going to be able to deliver is exactly that."

During the program the residents spent three days a week in a ward interacting with patients and providing spiritual support. The other two days of the work week were spent in reflection in groups in order to get feedback amongst colleagues to improve the care they provided.

The program is designed to prepare ministers to provide service members and their families resources in times of need, and to give spiritual support and counseling.

"I think one of the best things of this program is it really forms you to be as present as you can be with people," said graduate Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Wilkinson. "The fleet, hospitals and everywhere we go, this helps us to care for people in the most meaningful way."

In the four-quarter school year, all residents were required to complete more than 400 hours of structured group instruction, and more than 1200 hours of clinical practice in the wards of NMCSD and other hospitals in the Southern California area. Additionally, they were required to present their clinical works, conduct a quarterly self-evaluation, and complete a final evidence-based project.

Formed in 1984, with the first class graduating in 1985, the Hampton Roads Clinic Pastoral Education Center united the efforts of the Navy Chaplain Corps and the National VA Chaplain Center to provide certified CPE for selected Navy chaplains. The program is accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.

NMCSDs mission is to prepare to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver quality health care services, and shape the future of military medicine through education, training and research. The vision of the hospital is to be the nation's premier military medical center, providing world-class care anytime, anywhere.

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