Advocate Health Care System is a faith-based, not-for-profit health care system affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Pastoral care is highly valued and well integrated as a part of the holistic care of persons.
Advocate Christ Medical Center is a 695-bed, teaching, research and referral medical center in a southwest suburb of Chicago. Including Advocate Children’s Hospital - Oak Lawn, the medical center is a leader in cardiology, pediatrics, surgical service, oncology, women’s services and emergency medicine. ACMC has a medical staff of more than 900 physicians, representing more than 60 specialties and subspecialties., including a new (2010) kidney transplant program. With benchmark medical and surgical services for pediatric patients, nearly 4000 babies are born yearly at the Level III perinatal center. The medical center hosts the Heart Institute for Children, providing advanced medical and surgical care for newborns, infants and children. ACMC provides a full spectrum of adult cardiovascular services, including heart transplants, and the medical center’s program leads Chicagoland in the number of cardiac patients served. Christ Medical Center’s emergency department treats more than 80,000 patients annually, including more trauma patients than any other Illinois hospital in its Level I trauma center. These clinical specialties and the eight intensive care areas provide CPE students with opportunities for longer term and follow-up pastoral relationships.
The patient population includes people with roots in Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The neighborhood surrounding the hospital is middle class, white, predominantly Catholic, eastern European and Mediterranean with a growing Muslim population. ACMC’s service area includes the south side of Chicago and northern Indiana.
Description of the Pastoral Care Department
The Mission and Spiritual Care Department currently includes a religiously diverse group of ten full-time chaplains and seven part-time chaplains. Of the full-time chaplains, one serves as the Vice President and serves on the administrative team of the hospital, another is the manager of Spiritual Services and two are CPE supervisors. There are two supervisory candidates and four paid residency positions. The department supports, promotes, and develops the ministries of Eucharistic ministers, volunteers, visiting parish clergy and the Ethics Committee. Members of the chaplaincy staff also regularly participate in community educational activities.
Unique Educational Elements
Christ Medical Center, as part of the Advocate system CPE Center, offers a full range of programs including a stipended residency, summer intensive programs, extended programs and supervisory education. The annual cycle of programs is usually compatible with the academic schedules of most seminaries so that seminarians may participate in intensive or extended CPE programs at various times during the year. The extended units accommodate students that cannot participate in a full time program. All programs draw on and are coordinated with Advocate system resources.
The CPE residency program features a twelve-month, three-term curriculum. Each four month term includes the type 12 weeks of intensive CPE and five weeks of ‘integrative time’. The integrative time allows for specialized learning in ministry by way of projects, studies, and/or formal research efforts. The resident curriculum also attends to the consultative and certification needs of those considering professional chaplaincy. At the successful completion of the year, four units of Level I/II CPE are earned.
Each year there is a summer intensive program containing as many as six or seven students and an extended program from October to May containing five to seven students. Occasionally we have had a second extended program from January to September 1. The extended program is schedule to accommodate the needs of the participants and has occasionally been offered in evening and/or weekend hours.
All students rotate through eight and a half hour shifts of on-call weekend duty with responsibilities for the trauma center and the general hospital areas. Students are expected to remain in the hospital because the shifts are busy. For weekday clinical assignments there are opportunities to specialize in the various medical and surgical areas of care.
As a large medical center, ACMC offers didactic opportunities such as specialized medical and behavioral health lectures, interdisciplinary conferences, ethical consultations, and opportunities to learn along with medical students and medical residents. Residents have the opportunity to engage in a ministry specialty for presentation to the department and possible publication. In addition, there are many departmental activities open to CPE students.
Pertinent Information for Applicants
A non-refundable deposit, applicable to fees is required to hold a place in any program when the applicant is offered a position.
Students may not begin a program until they have complied with the mandated pre-employment physical exam, drug screening, and criminal record background check.
Applicants for the residency will complete an additional application through the Human Resources section of the Advocate website and will also need to pass the Patient Experience Profile.
For More Information…
Ms. Karen Darr
Office for Mission and Spiritual Care
Advocate Christ Medical Center
4440 West 95th Street
Oak Lawn, IL 60453