Our typical workday is Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and we work very collaboratively, both with other members of the interdisciplinary team (physicians, nurses, social workers, et al.) and among ourselves. We also expect that we will meet a high percentage of all inpatients within 24 hours of their admission to the hospital, so that they know firsthand that emotional and spiritual support is available to them.
One feature of our clinical coverage is that our department offers 24-hour, 7-day-a-week access to a chaplain, to any patient, visitor, or employee on our campuses. Each day two of our CPE students hold the On-Call pagers for a 26- or 27-hour shift, and he or she is responsible for ensuring that every call receives a timely response. On weekdays, this usually means that the on-call chaplain is referring these calls to his or her colleagues who are covering their regular clinical units. After 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and all day on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, the on-call chaplain must respond to the calls in person. One of the CPE supervisors is accessible at all times, so that the on-call chaplain can call for consultation and debriefing. A CPE student usually has one on-call shift every seven days. On-call duty is typically the most demanding part of a CPE student’s experience, and yet many students say that it is the most rewarding task they had to do in their CPE training.