Training Philosophy of HCMA

Training Philosophy

The world of the healthcare system is unique, demanding and challenging. In order to gain respect and recognition as one enters this environment, the healthcare Chaplain needs to come prepared with highly developed knowledge, skills and character that will command the respect and recognition the position warrants. The HCMA Clinical Pastoral Education Program, therefore, is designed to prepare the Chaplain-Trainee to become a worthy ambassador for Jesus Christ in the healthcare ministry to which God has called him/her.

The following explains the values and principles that form the foundation for the HCMA perspective on chaplaincy care within the healthcare setting.

The training philosophy of HCMA tends to have more of a pastoral/spiritual emphasis than a psychological ministry emphasis.

  • The chaplaincy training of an HCMA Chaplain tends to have a greater emphasis on spiritual issues rather than on humanistic issues. The pastoral care of an HCMA chaplain is more apt to be God-centered than man-centered.
  • HCMA considers the central task of a healthcare Chaplain is to bring to the sufferer the adequate resources that are found in a personal relationship with the living God, while at the same time respecting each person’s personal belief system.

The training philosophy of HCMA tends to be more vertical (eternal) focused than horizontal (temporal) focused in its ministry to patients and residents.

  • HCMA chaplaincy training tends to be more concerned about teaching the Chaplain to recognize that his/her primary role is to help the patient/resident relate well to God rather than focusing first and foremost on the patient/resident relating well to others or the Chaplain.
  • HCMA trains a Chaplain to primarily focus on the ultimate eternal issues concerning the patient/resident (i.e., providing pastoral/spiritual care) rather than making the Chaplain’s main focus on helping the patient/resident cope with the temporal concerns of the immediate situation (i.e., providing psychosocial care).
  • HCMA does train Chaplains to be sensitive to and deal with relational and psychosocial concerns; however, it is not considered the Chaplain’s specialty or primary role.

The training philosophy of HCMA tends to have a greater emphasis on personal ministry to individual needs rather than on doing case studies.

  • In training a Chaplain, HCMA views each sufferer as a person of worth rather than simply a case study.
  • HCMA trains a Chaplain to not only enter a person’s room and make observations, but also to come alongside the person’s life as a compassionate comforter in the tradition of our Lord Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd. This is done, among other ways, by being transparent and open, by being available to listen objectively and empathetically, and by being fully present to comfort individually, and by praying and sharing Scripture with them for their specific needs (when appropriate to do so).