Clinical training

The Clinical Pastoral Education Residency offers:

  • Daily small group participation and learning
  • Weekly individual supervision
  • Daily opportunities for pastoral ministry on patient units as well as on-call clinical experiences
  • Daily opportunities for interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration
  • Teaching, preaching and faith community leadership experiences

Residents participate in daily educational groups in the mornings and have most of the remaining day free to be the primary chaplain on an inpatient or outpatient unit.

Reflection on clinical experiences helps residents develop and increase their pastoral assessment skills, their listening and responding skills, and their competence in delivering pastoral interventions and strategies. Opportunities for mentoring and collaboration exist with staff chaplains and other members of the interdisciplinary healing team.

Some residents find the clinical setting particularly stimulating and choose to specialize in a certain domain of patient care, such as pediatrics, oncology or gerontology. This is possible by serving two consecutive quarters on a patient care unit.

Didactic training

Clinical presentations, seminars and small group discussions are integral parts of the Clinical Pastoral Education Residency. Lectures and seminars are given by staff chaplains and supervising chaplains, as well as interdisciplinary guest faculty. There are opportunities for one or two didactic seminars a week.

Curriculum topics are determined by student interest and need. Past topics have included:

  • Ethical reflection
  • Advance directives
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Hope and future stories
  • Pediatric ministry
  • Gerontology
  • Evaluating couples for pastoral counseling
  • Family systems


After each quarter, residents rotate to a different clinical specialty in order to broaden their experience and receive exposure to medical and spiritual issues. Clinical experiences may include:

  • Addictions
  • Cardiology
  • Emergency trauma care
  • Gynecology
  • Hematology
  • Hospice
  • Intensive care units
  • Long-term rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Oncology
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Surgery
  • Transplantation

Grading or evaluation

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences uses student evaluative tools that include:

  • Clinical reflections
  • Demonstration of skills
  • Self-assessment exercises
  • Faculty feedback

Evaluation of the ministry experience occurs during group sessions. Each week, residents summarize their learning in writing and review their observations with their supervisor. At midquarter and final evaluations, students and supervisors conduct written appraisals. Ample opportunity is given for residents to evaluate progress on their learning goals.

Mayo's system of evaluation provides students and faculty with a comprehensive look at individual performance. This allows faculty and administrative staff to direct students who are experiencing academic difficulty to the appropriate support resources, including tutoring programs and counseling opportunities.

Curriculum enhancements

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences is committed to developing and maintaining the best education programs. The curriculum and other aspects of this program are assessed constantly and changed as necessary to ensure the highest quality training.

Feb. 04, 2017