Northside Hospital - Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

What is Our Purpose?

To provide excellent clinical pastoral education through the use of an action-reflection, process-oriented model of learning that combines pastoral and spiritual care to those we serve with careful reflection on our functioning as spiritual care providers.

What is CPE?

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a graduate-level professional education program wherein clergy integrate their Master's or Doctoral level theological education and ministry experience with the real challenges of offering professional interfaith spiritual and pastoral care to persons in crisis. CPE in a recognized accredited program is a required component of professional Chaplaincy Board Certification in the Association for Professional Chaplains and several other certifying bodies at the top of this field. In spiritual health circles, CPE is seen as crucial education that enables a clergy person to provide competent interfaith spiritual care in a clinical setting. As such, it is also required for ordination in many denominations. Healthcare professionals may also take CPE at Northside Hospital to improve their spiritual care skills, leadership ability, and self-awareness.

What is the History of CPE at NSH?

Each year since 1990, CPE training fellows (interns and residents) placed at Northside Hospital have engaged in the action-reflection clinical learning program of CPE under the supervision of a Certified Supervisor of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. As an integral part of their training, CPE fellows have also provided a significant benefit to patients and staff by delivering a lions’ share of the overnight and weekend on call coverage at NSH-Atlanta. This care has helped to ensure that there is no time when a chaplain is not immediately available in the hospital. Northside Hospital’s CPE program began as a member of the Tri-hospital CPE Center. In 2008, it became a satellite program of the Care and Counseling Center of Georgia.

What is our Accreditation?

Our program is accredited through the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. (ACPE, Inc.). ACPE is the only CPE accreditation program recognized by the Department of Education of the United States of America. ( The Northside Hospital system is a satellite placement of the Care and Counseling Center of Georgia’s CPE program. The Center for Chaplaincy and Clinical Pastoral Education at Care and Counseling Center of Georgia ( is accredited to offer CPE training for interns, residents, and supervisory education students (SES).

Who are our Supervisors?

Amani Legagneur, the Manager of Spiritual Health and Education is a Certified CPE Supervisor through the ACPE, Inc. Jonathan Ball is the Coordinator of Clinical Pastoral Education for the NSH system and also a Certified CPE Supervisor through the ACPE, Inc.

What is our Approach?

The ability to offer spiritual and pastoral care is a combination of art, skill, and the maturity and integration of the self of the care provider. Our program is designed to support the work of learning the art of spiritual/pastoral care and the integration of the self of the care provider. Three principles serve as the foundation for Northside Hospital’s Clinical Pastoral Education program: learning-in-relationship, the action/reflection learning process, and integrative learning.


We believe transformative Clinical Pastoral Education happens in relationship. Students learn about themselves and their vocation at a profound depth as they reflect on their internal struggles with the relationships found in the training environment. The structure of the education program and the supervisory process are intended to provide a supportive yet challenging context for the student’s exploration of the complex web of relationships that is a part of the student’s learning context.

Action-Reflection-Action Learning Process

Our process is simple: we go out and offer the best ministry we can, we come back to a community and reflect to seek truth and the possibilities for our future care, and then we return to the care space to try again (informed by what we discovered in our reflective community). Today’s work and reflection enriches our work tomorrow as we learn together to be life-long learners.

We believe that experience raises questions and possibilities that no lecture could anticipate. We believe that our patients may be our best teachers of how to integrate what we learned about our vocation in school and how we apply it in the real-world experience of persons in crisis.

In our action and reflection, we also recognize the immeasurable gifts of diverse people and perspectives. Our philosophy is that action-reflection-action learning is enriched by a spirit inclusive of diversity—gender, racial, ethnic, religious tradition, multi-cultural and multi-faith, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, and lay and ordained professional identity.

Integrative Learning

Integration is the ability to bring together separated pieces and to differentiate pieces that seems forever fused. Most of us received an education that was heavy on theory but light on actual practice. Those of us who learned in the school of life may have gained much experience but lack the theory to undergird it. We see the integration of different parts of learning to be a process of cultivating wisdom.

Our CPE program is designed to facilitate the student’s integration of (a) theory and practice of ministry; (b) theological perspectives; (c) understandings of the human personality and self-awareness; (d) the interrelationship of body, mind, and spirit; and, (e) the intersection of personal, faith, and socio-cultural systems. Within the peer group process and the hospital clinical environment, the student will encounter a richly diverse environment which will encourage the student to evaluate and integrate his/her own perspectives and understandings.

Each CPE training fellow offers quality spiritual care and emotional support to patients, family members, and hospital staff on a planned, consistent and ongoing basis under the supervision of a certified Pastoral Education Supervisor. Each fellow serves as a chaplain to specific clinical areas of specialization in the hospital during normal business hours. After regular working hours and on weekends, fellows participate in on-call coverage of the hospital.

Why complete CPE at NSH?

  • At Northside, we emphasize excellence in everything that we do. Our supervisory faculty and Professional Advisory Group are constantly working to provide our students with the gold standard of educational CPE experience.
  • We believe that our patients are our best teachers, that this learning requires support for taking risks, and that becoming a reflective practitioner of the art of pastoral care is a professional responsibility.
  • We believe that creating a hospitable, compassionate learning environment complements the transformation of training fellows into spiritual health professionals.
  • Our graduates tell us that the journey of becoming a reflective practitioner in our program often results in gaining a greater understanding of themselves and their vocation.
  • We have a reputation for being one of the best CPE placements in the nation.

How May I Apply for CPE?

Programs offered at Northside

Each unit of CPE includes a minimum of 400 hours of supervised learning. Of these hours, at least 100 hours are spent in structured individual and group learning.*

“Structured group learning” includes: orientation, weekly educational seminars, department in-services and case consultations, department meetings and morning report, chaplaincy clinical team meetings, multidisciplinary rounds in clinical areas and patient care conferences.

“Individual structured learning” includes: individual supervision; preparation of learning goals and contracts, weekly reflection papers, verbatim case presentations, clinical case studies, pastoral care theory and theology papers, research/integration project, and reading assigned to all students, as well as reading recommended by the supervisor and/or selected by the student in pursuit of learning goals.

Students participate in the activities of the chaplaincy department, visit as assigned to specific clinical areas, and share in the rotation of overnight and weekend on call duty.

* A half unit of CPE is at least 60 hours of structured group and individual education and a minimum of 240 hours of supervised learning.

*Unit dates and CPE program offerings at NSH are subject to change. 

What CPE Programs are offered at NSH?


Northside offers two part-time CPE internships annually. One is in the fall (September – December) and the other is in the winter/spring (January – May). These involve one week of orientation, one day weekly of structured group learning, one weekly overnight duty, a weekly hour of individual supervision, and 10 hours per week of daytime duty. Each group will be made up of 4-10 students.

Northside offers one, full-time, summer intensive internship annually. This program involves one week of orientation, Monday – Friday 8am – 4:30pm duty and weekly overnight duty (with the following day off for recovery and self-care). Each week the group will gather for structured group learning, and each student will have an hour of weekly individual supervision.


Residency at Northside Hospital is a year-long intensive educational experience. The residency year runs from August – August each year. The residency year is marked by three CPE units (fall, winter/spring, and summer). Each of these units has a particular curriculum that integrates the core CPE residency curriculum with the individual learning interests of the group members. Applicants are required to have completed 1 unit of internship at an ACPE accredited CPE center to apply. Stipends and health insurance are available to residents.

Specialty training

Areas of specialty training are available to Level II residents choosing to continue beyond the initial four units of CPE. Northside’s CPE program offers Spiritual Care specialties in Women’s Services, Oncology & Palliative Care, Intensive Care, and Community Hospital Chaplaincy.

Supervisory CPE

Northside Hospital is a placement site for Supervisory CPE.


Northside Hospital Atlanta

1000 Johnson Ferry Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30342
(404) 851-8000

Northside Hospital Cherokee

450 Northside Cherokee Blvd.
Canton, GA 30115
(770) 224-1000

Northside Hospital Duluth

3620 Howell Ferry Road
Duluth, GA 30096
(678) 312-6800

Northside Hospital Forsyth

1200 Northside Forsyth Drive
Cumming, GA 30041
(770) 844-3200

Northside Hospital Gwinnett

1000 Medical Center Blvd.
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
(678) 312-1000

Copyright © 2020 Northside Hospital