WICHITA – When Code Blues, trauma alerts and countless other emergencies occur at Wesley Medical Center, every member of the medical team is focused on keeping patients alive. But they’re not the only ones who need support – for their loved ones who are confused and frightened, a team of specially trained people are there.
Through Wesley’s clinical pastoral education program – the only one of its kind accredited in Kansas through the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education – the hospital’s chaplains are on-hand around the clock to counsel and support patients, their families and friends.
“Some of the toughest times of people’s lives happen in this building,” said Miles Reimer, one of the chaplains. “My fellow chaplains and I are there when people receive bad news, when they’re facing the unknown or when they just need to talk.”
Reimer and his fellow chaplains are also adept at navigating complicated emotional situations, such as life-or-death crises.
“One of my first Code Blues at Wesley involved a toddler who had gone into cardiac arrest. Her mother wanted to be in the room to hold her child’s hand, but knew she couldn’t interfere with the code team,” he said. “That’s where I was able to step in and be a liaison between this family and the caregivers, so the mother could hold her little girl as she took her last breaths.”
“Even though that situation ended in tragedy, I’m grateful I was able to be there for the family and help during those final moments.”
Unlike volunteer pastoral care programs, Wesley’s staff chaplains are required to have a graduate level theological education, clinical pastoral education, and be ordained and endorsed by their faith groups. Staff chaplains also must complete 50 hours of annual continuing education. This includes any subject that can improve their professional development.
“We want to provide the best care possible, and continuing education helps us do that,” Reimer said. “Being board-certified also tells the patients and visitors we care for that we have gone to the highest level of professional certification available for the type of services we provide.”
Wesley’s Pastoral Care and Education department facilities the program, which offers chaplain residents and interns the clinical pastoral education needed to become board-certified chaplains.
“We are very proud of being the only clinical pastoral education program accredited in Kansas,” said Susan Harthon, Wesley Healthcare’s interim director for pastoral care and education. “Our program is committed to improving the quality of pastoral care in the clinical setting, and our accreditation recognizes that.”
Wesley’s clinical pastoral education program consists of graduate-level theological education that is grounded in a person-centered approach to spiritual care ministry. As a member of an interdisciplinary healthcare team, the student’s educational experience involves providing pastoral care to patients, families and staff. The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education standards requires a minimum of 100 hours of class time and 300 hours of clinical time for each of the four units of training required for board certification.
“Through the program, the student evaluates the effectiveness of his or her ministry, participates in group and individual educational activities, and integrates insights and skills to grow in ministry,” Harthon said.
Wesley’s pastoral care and education department employs all board-certified staff chaplains – two full-time, one part-time and one PRN chaplain, plus one full-time chaplain at Wesley Woodlawn Hospital & ER. The staff also includes an administrative professional and chaplain residents. Chaplains come from a wide variety of denominational affiliations and offer multi-faith spiritual support to patients, families and staff.
“Wesley takes great pride in not only employing all board-certified staff chaplains, but in providing the spiritual education and continuing education behind the certification,” Harthon said. “Through the clinical pastoral education program, we offer training that benefits chaplains, facilities and people throughout the state of Kansas.”
For more information about Wesley’s pastoral care services or its clinical pastoral education program, please visit www.wesleymc.com.
Wesley Healthcare is the region’s leading acute care hospital network providing a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma since 1912. As a leader in Overall Recommended Care in national surveys, Wesley Medical Center treats more than 24,000 patients annually and delivers more than 6,000 babies – more than any hospital in a 13-state region. Wesley provides the most extensive emergency network in Wichita, with Wesley ER, Wesley West ER, Wesley Woodlawn ER, the region’s only pediatric ER and soon, Wesley Derby ER. Wesley owns and operates Wesley Woodlawn Hospital & ER, multiple WesleyCare clinics and is currently building the region’s only dedicated children’s hospital – Wesley Children’s Hospital. To learn more about Wesley Healthcare, please visit www.wesleymc.com.