Since MACU’s Practicum in Pastoral Care course launched almost two decades ago, MACU students have touched the hearts of more than 30,000 patients, families and hospital staff members with God’s loving kindness. This spring marks the eighteenth year of Practicum in Pastoral Care, an honors-level, clinical training experience available to MACU students who have completed a significant amount of coursework in Bible, theology and ministry.
The Practicum course is designed to offer instruction that is immediately translated into ministry in a clinical setting. Students attend
classroom instruction every Tuesday, where they process various aspects of pastoral caregiving. On Thursdays, they travel to partner hospital
Alliance Health Midwest to offer spiritual care to patients, giving them the opportunity to put into practice the principles learned from class.
Ministry Professor Justin Key, who oversees Practicum, says the course is a perfect blend of faithful learning and faithful practice.
“Our students get to visit with people from all walks of life who are experiencing many challenges in the area of cardiac recovery, intensive
care and oncology,” Key said. “In the first week of caregiving alone this semester, a student visited someone who turned their caregiving visit
down, a patient who was in a non-responsive condition and a patient who was terminally ill.”
These are experiences that can’t be replicated in the classroom, Key said, adding that MACU is blessed with the opportunity to prepare
students for the reality they will face in life and in ministry.
Practicum in Pastoral Care began in 2004, after MACU President Dr. John Fozard and the late Brian Clemens, who was then the CEO of the
hospital, collaborated together to create the course. Since then, Practicum has expanded to include a second level that takes place at The
University of Oklahoma Medical Center, where students expand their caregiving to Levels 1 and 2 trauma and pediatric care, including the
neonatal intensive care unit.
Beginning this month, Practicum students will have the unique opportunity to visit with COVID-19 patients.
“These are unprecedented times for all of us, and especially for these particular patients in the hospital who are having to remain isolated on
a daily basis,” Key said. “We believe that presently and in upcoming semesters, our students will have the incredible opportunity to offer care
in a way that we’ve never been challenged with before.
To visit patients who have or are recovering from COVID-19, students will follow very strict personal protective equipment guidelines. These
guidelines require double-masking, face shield, a full-length gown, gloves and coverings for their feet. They will sanitize their hands when
getting on and off the elevator and between every visit, and they will wipe down their face shields repeatedly.
“Not only is this a blessing for the patient to receive a visit in the midst of their isolation, but also a wonderful growth opportunity for the
student as they devote themselves to such a process for the benefit of others,” said Key. “Our students have the opportunity to respond to
God’s call to follow Jesus Christ into any situation to be with others and demonstrate His love for them.