By Karen Pugliese
Almost as quickly as it was posted, the eight-hour professional development pre-conference workshop — “Palliative Care and Hospice Advanced Certification: New BCCI and NACC Collaborative Process” — was filled to its 20-participant capacity. Much of the excitement was in anticipation of a groundbreaking event in collaborative activities between APC and NACC.
Now, for the first time in our histories, the Board of Chaplaincy Certification Inc. and the NACC have created a joint process by which eligible, board-certified candidates can become credentialed through a newly developed action-reflection model. This innovative model, with six overarching foundational characteristics of advanced chaplaincy care, and 14 new advanced practice competencies directly related to the specialty, became effective July 1. For me, this enhanced level of professional partnership between our organizations fulfills a dream that seemed for many years relegated to wishful thinking.
Under the new system, palliative care and hospice advanced specialty certification candidates will participate in a two-day workshop described as “seeing, doing, and teaching the competencies in order to master certification.” The first will be offered in Hoffman Estates, IL, on Oct. 5-6, with a second round tentatively planned for May in Milwaukee. Detailed information as well as application materials can be accessed on the NACC or APC website. Applications are due Aug. 31.
The new criteria, competencies, and model were described during the workshop facilitated by two APC and two NACC members of the development team. Collectively, they represent many years of experience in palliative care and hospice healthcare institutions nationwide. Bonnie McCulley and Sedona Montelongo both serve on the NACC commission for certification. The Rev. Anna Lee Hisey Pierson recently completed five years serving on the APC BCCI Commission and led the task of recreating the palliative care and hospice certification process. The Rev. Sharon Burniston serves on the APC BCCI Commission, with a focus on specialty certification.
The workshop itself was exceptionally well-planned, inventive, and comprehensive. Participants included APC and NACC chaplains with varying degrees of experience and representing a wide range of geographic locations and healthcare settings.
Participants discussed original videos featuring the presenters in real-life, case study situations filmed in their own workplaces. We engaged in role plays, group discussions of the PowerPoint presentations, and small group dialogue. Topics included the scope of advanced practice palliative and hospice chaplaincy; transdisciplinary goals of care conversations and family conferences; the chaplain as palliative care leader; quality improvement projects; and research. Toward the end of the day participants were guided through a session on application writing, for both the new model and the optional older written/interview certification process.
At the close of the Intensive, I commented to a presenter, “Not a moment has been wasted.” As I left the workshop, I realized that we were meeting in a hotel only a stone’s throw from Disneyland. As I walked to my room, I thought I could hear the voice of Disney’s Jiminy Cricket:
If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme.
When you wish upon a star
Your dream comes true.
Karen Pugliese, BCC, is an advanced practice chaplain at Northwestern Medicine, Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, IL.