At long last after many tries at this I finally made it to CPE! We had our first seminar day yesterday and it was good. I absolutely LOVE this hospital and all of the thought and intentionality that has gone into creating what they call "the Healing Environment" which is a part of their mission and values. The environment is deliberately constructed to be patient-centered, affirming and soothing. There is amazing art all over the place, and gardens and water features outside available to patients and staff. The interfaith prayer room (in what is originally a small Catholic hospital) has prayer rugs, meditation cushions, a tallit and malas, sweet grass and sage as well as the holy books from a variety of traditions. I continue to like my supervisor. We just "clicked" at the interview and listening to him yesterday reinforced and validated that further.
We are just three as a group, and that led to some tense moments yesterday as two of us sat and waited for our third partner to appear. He had gotten caught in traffic, and while we waited and wondered about him, our supervisor told us that the other two people in our (former) group of five had dropped out and that we needed at least three to continue. But then K appeared and all was well. We may get one or two more people coming in who were sort of "wait listed" when we seemed to be at full-strength, and now will be offered spots. So we may grow a little which would be good, but I can be fine with D and K who seem like very solid and focused people. We are all "of an age" and are on at least a second career call track. We are diverse with a Lutheran, and UCC-er and myself. Our supervisor is a UCC minister as well. I have always had a feeling of connection and love for the UCC after some time as a church-member in that denomination in my past, and think if I weren't Episcopalian, that is likely what I would be.
We got our pics taken for the ID badge and had a tour which included meeting some of the most warm and welcoming staff I could hope for. Everyone from the CEO to the housekeepers and security staff seemed genuinely delighted to have us among them. M told us that the Spiritual Care department is very valued in this place and that this welcome is the real thing. Tomorrow orientation continues as we begin to learn about the role of the chaplain and various protocols in different areas of the hospital. I don't know yet where I will be assigned, but anywhere is good as I just want to soak it up. I'm a little anxious as I think about getting into the patient interaction in earnest, which I know is a little silly, as I did this both as a pastor and a psychotherapist. I'm also a little concerned about balancing this with work (full time still...just condensed into 3 1/2-4 days a week. That and trying to have a life and relationship with my husband who works his own quirky hours (4 am to whenever he is done M-T-Th-F and Saturday). So I know we will both have to be intentional about our time for connection and play in order to keep "us" healthy together as well as individually.
But for today, I am totally psyched and can't wait to move forward on this "next great adventure."