South Eastern Trust Chaplaincy Service Is First In UK To Achieve Internationally Recognised Accreditation

3rd July 2023
(file name: Chaplaincy Accreditation 5): (back row) Pictured are the CPE students alongside (front row L-R) Rev. Don Gamble, AICAB, Catherine Keenan, AICAB Chairperson Rev. Brian Gough and Senior Manager Patient Experience, Tony OHara

The Chaplaincy Service at the Ulster Hospital has been awarded an international accreditation from the All Ireland Chaplaincy Accreditation Board (AICAB) for its Clinical Pastoral Education Centre (CPE), which is a fantastic achievement, showcasing the brilliant work of this service. The success of this accreditation means that the Ulster Hospital is the first in the United Kingdom to have a AICAB Internationally Accredited CPE Teaching Centre in an Acute Hospital setting.

The Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) centre, which is led by Lead Chaplain, Rev. Don Gamble, is a 12 week reflective practice process which involves students undertaking 200 hours of supervised classroom reflective practise and 200 hours of placement for the student. Once students successfully complete the process, students will gain a global qualification in healthcare chaplaincy.

Students who successfully complete 2-3 units of CPE can then apply for professional registration. The benefit of this global qualification is that it recognises the profession of healthcare chaplains, who can then work to an internationally recognised standard. This also brings great benefits to the patients, who are visited by the chaplains during their visit to hospital. The accreditation panel are an international body which internationally accredits CPE centres.

As part of the Accreditation process, the working group was responsible for writing the accreditation report and were interviewed as part of the process. Senior Manager of Patient Experience, Tony OHara was questioned on the strategic development of the chaplaincy service and the CPE centre.
Lead Chaplin, Rev. Don Gamble is really thrilled to receive this accreditation. “I’m delighted that our CPE Centre is internationally recognised and students can now gain an internationally recognised qualification in Healthcare Chaplaincy. It has taken a long time to train as a CPE Supervisor/Educator and I could not have achieved it without the support of Mr Tony OHara and Mr Jeff Thompson, my line managers in Patient Experience and Sr. MaryJo Corcoran my mentor supervisor and Director of CPE in NI.”

Assistant Director Patient Experience, Jeff Thompson said, “I would like to commend the AICAB for its decision and for the rigorous process to ensure we met the highest standards for delivering CPE. Having an internationally accredited CPE centre co-located on a major hospital site was a long term vision for the South Eastern Trust. This recognition is the culmination of many years of hard work by Rev. Don Gamble and will greatly enhance the spiritual and pastoral care of our patients and staff. I am absolutely thrilled with the benefits this will bring to the Region.”

Accreditation offers status for pastoral supervisors and educators who are able to demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to high standards of practice. Accreditation enables employers to have confidence that the practitioner works competently and to professional standards and that they are accountable to a professional organisation.

Congratulations to the whole team involved in the Accreditation process and on success of achieving this very valuable and important accreditation.