CPE stands for clinical pastoral education. A CPE placement is a semester-long internship in a clinical setting. My CPE placement is a children’s hospital.
What feels like forever ago, my preaching professor told us to start the sermon writing process by thinking about our audience. The author of one of our textbooks suggested spending a few minutes thinking about the question “what’s it like to be…” So, we practiced with “what’s it like to be a seminary student?” The only answer I remember was “it’s like being punched in the face.”
This is what it’s like to be a CPE student:
intense. exhausting.exhilarating.intimidating.frightening.affirming.hungry.need comfy shoes.standing.hands on a hospital bed.prayers.pagers.hatred of beeping noises.death.tears.prayers.presence.support.charting.like navigating a ship if you’re not a pirate. fish out of water. duck to water. hospital.clinical.sterile.thrilling.chilling.bring your own pillow.uptight.calm down.prayers. conversation.smiles. laughs. amazing parents. brave kids. trauma. prayers.tubes.ivs.rounds. NICU.PICU.ED.PatientCareArea. StairGyms. yes, they call the stairwells that. Trust me, it’s a workout. Sometimes I run up the stairs, other times I walk, sometimes I do lunges. relax when you can.pagers going off in places other than the hospital disorient me. confidence booster. terror instiller. Spanish speakers. presence. support. conversation. prayers.prayers.prayers.
Being a CPE student is like being punched in the face… and then punching right back and saying “look, CPE, I’m good at this. And every day I improve just a little.”
CPE is awesome.