The Scarborough Hospital’s (TSH) Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program offered through the Spiritual and Religious Care department has been granted accreditation for a five-year term (April 2015 to April 2020) by the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC). TSH is the only accredited CPE Teaching Centre in the Central East Local Health Integration Network.
Affiliated with the Toronto School of Theology through the University of Toronto (U of T), CPE is a graduate-level program for university students and clergy, based on the adult education model. It is designed to fulfill the principles and standards of CASC, which is a national, multi-faith organization committed to the professional education, certification, and support of people involved in pastoral care and pastoral counselling.
“The history of The Scarborough Hospital is strongly rooted in the knowledge that spiritual and religious care has an impact on health, wellness, and coping,” says Rhonda Seidman-Carlson, Vice-President, Interprofessional Practice and Chief Nursing Executive. “In addition to aligning with our strategic planning, this accreditation affirms our commitment to best practice and evidence-based care and teaching, across the board.”
In its accreditation report, CASC stated that TSH’s well-respected CPE program could be used as a model in Canada. Combining classroom learning with on-site practical experience in a vibrant, multi-faith environment, the program attracts students of varying ethnicities and religious beliefs from across the world, due, in part, to the hospital’s multicultural patient population. Students are an intricate part of the interprofessional teams on the patient units where they are placed.
“The hospital’s weekly Service of Multi-Faith Readings and Reflection, which is popular with patients (and televised through the hospital), is a learning highlight for our students, providing them with the opportunity to develop creative and inclusive worship services,” says Ajith Varghese, Manager, Spiritual and Religious Care, TSH, and CPE Teaching Supervisor – an adjunct faculty position in the Pastoral Department, Toronto School of Theology, U of T.
The Scarborough Hospital has always placed a high value on the importance of spiritual and religious care, starting with the Sisters of Misericorde, who founded the General campus (formerly Scarborough General Hospital), and the Salvation Army, which built the Birchmount campus (formerly The Salvation Army Scarborough Grace Hospital). There is also a long tradition of training CPE participants, pioneered in 1991 by Varghese’s predecessor, Reverend Eric Howes, former Manager of Spiritual and Religious Care. The hospital will enter its 25th year of CPE studies in 2016.