Curriculum Highlights

Individual Learning Contracts and ACPE Outcomes

Our aim is to help students maximize their learning and growth based upon individualized goals, readiness to learn and grow, and contextual situation in life. Educators work with students to help them clarify and articulate their goals and growing edges, and encourage students to tap into their own resources — emotionally, spiritually, relationally and culturally — to address their goals as authentically and meaningfully as possible.

Students will complete an end-of-unit final evaluation, along with their Certified Educator, to address learning and progress made on ACPE Level-I/II Outcomes.

View the objectives and outcomes for Level-I/II CPE on the ACPE website.

The Relational Learning Environment

CPE in the hospital context is an educational endeavor that is profoundly experiential and inherently touches upon the felt sense of risk that accompanies transformational learning. Students are invited to step out of their comfort zones by challenging assumptions and beliefs that may limit their empathy, emotional availability and pastoral identity. 

At Northwestern Medicine, students are invited to be dynamically engaged in a comprehensive educational process that is not only skill-based, but also nurtures personal discovery and empowers self-directed learning. We believe that relationships built upon mutuality and trust are essential in adult learning, and the groundwork begins with the Spiritual Care Department making a concerted effort to orient students to hospital and chaplaincy services.

By establishing a solid foundation of support, we can better equip students to provide informed and compassionate spiritual care. By cultivating an atmosphere of reliability and availability, our educators and staff communicate a departmental solidarity with students and demonstrate that we are invested in them and their learning.

Core Curriculum

Students are exposed to a variety of learning modalities throughout the course of a unit or residency year. Traditional CPE methodologies of individual supervision, clinical verbatim, theological reflection, and interpersonal relations seminars are considered foundational curricular resources, and are incorporated into every unit.

In addition to a week-long comprehensive orientation for providing ministry in a Level-1 trauma center, each educator provides unit-specific content and learning opportunities. Some of the curricular features unique to Northwestern Medicine include:

  • Attending monthly Compassion Rounds and Medical Ethics Grand Rounds (all)
  • Providing staff support with the Care Cart (all)
  • Facilitating the Stone Institute of Psychiatry Spirituality Group (Level-I)
  • Chaplain board certification preparation (Level-II)
  • Clinical placement with Psychiatric Nursing rounds (Level-II)
  • Training in Northwestern Medicine Chaplain core competencies (residents)
  • Individual mentoring with staff chaplains (residents)
  • Certificate in mindfulness-based stress reduction (residents)
  • Research literacy (residents)
  • Medical ethics – theory and practice (residents)