Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Case for Board Certification

Having gone through 2 certification processes, I think I can make a good case for hospice Chaplains being Board Certified. What does it mean, Board Certification? In a nutshell, having Board Certification means: 1. A Chaplain has successfully completed 1,600 supervised hours of classroom and clinical work. 2. A Chaplain has presented him/herself to a Certification Committee after 2,000 hours of work as a hospice Chaplain. 3. A Chaplain has completed the grueling work of writing responses to 27 Pastoral Competencies and successfully defending those responses in front of the Committee. 4. The Board Certified Chaplain has accomplished a task that few other hospice Chaplains have attained. Does Board Certification make the Chaplain a better Chaplain than those who are not Board Certified? Not necessarily, but it does give the Chaplain a broader sense of the issues surrounding hospice and palliative care and depth of understanding of those issues. Recently, I was asked by the Special Interest Group at the Association of Professional Chaplains to complete a survey from the Joint Commission. I was to comment on their proposed Palliative Care Certification Requirements. One of the proposals had to do with the Chaplain being part of the Interdisciplinary Team. The qualifier to the Chaplain had to do with Board Certification or being Board eligible. Being Board Eligible has to do with the Chaplain completing 4 units of Clinical Pastoral Education, but not appearing before a Certification Committee. It is my deepest hope that hospice Chaplains who are Board Eligible will complete their work on the 27 Pastoral Competencies with APC or will seek Board Certification through the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy. Both certifying bodies are extremely competent and will position the Chaplain to accomplish great things in the great work of chaplaincy. It is my opinion that it won’t be too far down the road before the Joint Commission is going to recommend that all hospice Chaplains be Board Certified. This is a new day in healthcare. Chaplains of all types in healthcare must attain the highest for the needs of patients. It is also hoped that hospice agencies will recognize the value of Board Certified Chaplains and seek to make this a requirement for Chaplain candidates.

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