The Learning Environment

The educational process of CPE invites participants to engage their personal stories. Through accessing an understanding of meanings derived from their histories, CPE participants are equipped to assist care-seekers to draw strength from their own stories as they face into their current crisis and situation. As we at the Beaumont Health System invite persons to participate in programs of clinical pastoral education in our current environment of a world renowned teaching health system, we are constantly mindful of our own story as an evolving health system with CPE as one vibrant component of our educational offerings.

Ours is the story of a community hospital with vision. It begins in 1943, when the Southern Oakland County Hospital Committee—a group of citizens from the Royal Oak and Ferndale area—formed to promote construction of a large health care facility. The rapidly growing suburban population in south Oakland County, fuelled by industrial prosperity of Detroit, had simply outgrown the area’s health care services. The grass roots committee lobbied the Michigan legislature to adopt Public Act 47 of 1945 which allowed two or more cities to incorporate a hospital authority with limited taxing powers to build and operate a community hospital. The new South Oakland Hospital Authority, representing nine area communities, met May 3, 1945. In 1949, the groups decided to start a new and independent organization, Oakland Hospital, which two years later acquired 60 acres from a housing development and an adjacent 55-acre farm on 13 Mile Road west of Woodward Avenue for one dollar. Ground-breaking ceremonies were held for the new Oakland Hospital on Friday, June 19, 1953. By the time of the grand opening of the new hospital, however the “Oakland” name was creating confusion with similarly named facilities. During construction, mail and even a load of building bricks mistakenly had been delivered to another hospital with a similar name. The search for a new name culminated in the selection of William Beaumont, M.D., a frontier physician whose military practice with the Mackinac Island garrison in the 1880s led to research on the human digestive system. On Monday, January 24th, 1955 at 8 a.m., William Beaumont Hospital opened its doors as a 238-bed community hospital in Royal Oak.

The intervening 58 years since 1955 has seen its growth and acceptance to its present status. Today, this campus, which forms the environment of learning for CPE interns and residents, has the distinction of being one of the nation’s busiest hospitals for admissions and outpatient surgeries, as well as international renown as a Center of Excellence in several fields of medical care. Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak serves as a regional referral center and teaching hospital in emergency medicine, cardiac care, cardiovascular surgery, cancer treatment, neonatal intensive care, transplantation services, and numerous other specialities.

Within the Beaumont signature of care, the Royal Oak campus currently offers 1,070 patient care beds staffed with some of the area’s finest professionals, including physicians and researchers who are nationally and internationally prominent in their specialties. Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak is accredited by The Joint Commission; is an American College of Surgeons-verified level I trauma center; holds advanced certification as a primary stroke center; is one of 14 U.S. health systems selected for High Value Healthcare Collaborative; was named a top ten quality leader by the University Healthsystem Consortium; is a “U.S. News and World Report” "Best Hospital" for 17 consecutive years; was the first hospital in Michigan to meet electronic medical records requirements, and in 2012 was named by the American Hospital Association as one of the nation’s “most wired” hospitals.

One of the world's largest interventional cardiology programs is located here, as is one of the nation's leading centers for cardiac research, including heart attack research that established angioplasty as standard of care and CT angiography best for diagnosis. Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak is the only hospital in the U.S. performing nerve rerouting surgery to help paraplegics and children with spina bifida urinate; participating in collaborative patient safety and quality initiatives, including the national “5 Million Lives” campaign and is the Michigan Health & Hospital Association's keystone center for patient safety and quality. We’ve earned the Society of Chest Pain Center’s chest pain center accreditation; Michigan’s first Magnet-designated hospital for nursing excellence; Michigan’s only health system participating in the High Value Healthcare Collaborative, a national collaboration designed to improve health care quality, lower costs, and expand best care practices to other providers; earned The Joint Commission’s gold seal of approval for total knee and hip replacement; and in 2011, provided more than $217 million in community benefits. We’re among the top Medicare hospitals in the United States; and the largest employer in Oakland County.

As a major teaching facility, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak offers 37 accredited medical residency and fellowship programs for 400 physicians seeking specialty training; is accredited as a level 1 education institute by the American College of Surgeons; partnered with Oakland University to establish the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine; is affiliated with the University of Michigan and Wayne State University schools of medicine; has nursing affiliations with area schools, including a top-ranked certified registered nurse anaesthetist school. Beaumont’s Schools of Allied Health offers a setting rich in opportunities for learning, providing training for skilled professionals in clinical oncology massage, histology, histotechnology, medical laboratory, nuclear medicine, radiation therapy, and Reiki therapy.

University HealthSystem Consortium, an alliance of the nation’s leading nonprofit academic medical centers, has selected Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak as one of 10 winners of its 2012 UHC Quality Leadership Award. The award is given to academic medical centers that have demonstrated excellence in delivering high-quality care as measured by the annual UHC Quality & Accountability Study. Beaumont is the exclusive clinical teaching site for the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine that welcomed its charter class in Aug. 2011. The hospital is also named in 10 medical specialties on U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Hospitals” 2012-13 rankings.

The integrated approach to holistic patient care offers learnings opportunities to tap into a network of interdisciplinary care-giving alliances. From Obstetrics and Gynecology to Pediatrics to Radiology to Urology to Ophthalmology to Cardiac Rehabilitation to Gerontology, Beaumont combines a caring, patient-centered approach with the latest technology to provide each patient with the best possible health care. At Beaumont, the characteristic constants in our history are growth, development geared to a single concern, enunciated in our Mission Statement: “We will provide the highest quality health care services to all of our patients efficiently, effectively, and compassionately, regardless of where they live or their financial circumstances.”

It is in this rich environment of learning and commitment to treating the whole person, body mind and spirit that our CPE interns and residents engage their continuing formation as ministers and the development of their pastoral competencies. The environment for learning at Beaumont is predominantly a friendly, supportive, and valuing one. Administration, medicine, nursing, social work and ancillary support staff provide this supportive atmosphere. The importance of spiritual care finds increasing affirmation in this hospital setting. Spiritual Care and Clinical Pastoral Education are seen and valued as leaders and mentors in multicultural and multi-religious relations within the hospital. CPE programs, typically, reflect this in the composition of their participants. The Spiritual Care Department employs a full/part time staff of eleven (11) chaplains (includes four full time, four part time, and three contingent chaplains), who represent several faith and cultural traditions. CPE interns/residents engage in emotional and spiritual care to patients/families in assigned areas, working as team members with other staff persons in an interdisciplinary approach. Interns and residents also provide spiritual care throughout the hospital during their fourteen overnight clinical practicums. Each intern/resident selects some of his/her clinical experiences for self-evaluation, peer group feedback, and supervision.