The early days: Dean Brook

Cover of the 1st program for the 1st Graduation Dinner – 1981

On this page are a number of pieces of information that relate to the early days of CPE in SA.

History of CPE in South Australia

(The following account of the early days of CPE in SA has been provided by its founding father, Rev Dean Brook. Dean wrote this account in October, 2016)

CPE began in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in South Australia in September 1979.

This was a one- off full time quarter[1] with four students.  The Supervisor was Rev Dean Brook.

At that time Dean was an Acting Level II Supervisor and a Level III Supervisor was invited over from Melbourne to help with the final evaluations.  Then there was a nine month break while Dean went to the Royal Perth Hospital to complete his Level II accreditation under the supervisor of Rev. Roy Bradley, who was the first supervisor in Australia.

The second quarter was held during 1980.  After this quarter a graduation dinner was arranged in the hospital.  Dr Basil Hetzel presented the certificates.  Rev Roy Bradley was the guest speaker.  Officials from the hospital were present.  This became an important P.R. exercise.

Following this a Department of Pastoral Care was established in the hospital and the hospital provided a half time secretary. The hospital was a teaching hospital and was delighted to add a teaching Pastoral Care component to its portfolio.

Following this Dean ran another 44 consecutive quarters of CPE. The usual pattern each year was three full time quarters, a full time half quarter for theological students during their long vacation at the end of the year and a part time quarter during the year.

The practice of inviting a Level III supervisor to assist in final evaluations continued until some other supervisors were developed in SA. The early assistant supervisors were Bizz Jelly, Bob Kempe, Peter Williams and Dean Olafsen.

At the time when CPE was beginning at the QEH, nurse training was moving out of hospitals and into the universities.  As a consequence of this move, rooms now became available at the QEH for CPE students to use for their training and study purposes.

However, the moving of nurse training from hospital to university also meant that chaplains no longer had any input into nurses training; and this in turn meant that none of the new nurses had any idea what the chaplain did in the hospital. These changes were partly counteracted partly by our being a department in the hospital. Being a department meant that we took our turn with all the other hospital departments in presenting our work to the whole hospital once a year. This was done during the lunch hour on Thursdays and was called ‘The Grand Round’.

Dean established a Pastoral Care library at the hospital using his own pastoral care books.

There were a few growing pains that had to be sorted out. Firstly what title should be put on the students name tags. Some felt that to call them ‘Assistant Chaplains’ was giving them status beyond their level.  If they were called ‘students’, then some patients may not want to talk to them. In the end it was decided so they were to be called ‘Chaplain’s Assistant’.

Then the query was raised as to whether CPE students should have access to the patients’ records, the same as the full time chaplains did.  It was felt that this should not be allowed; but if students were doing a special case study of a patient for their study purposes, then Dean could apply to the Medical Superintendent for permission in that particular situation.

With the sudden influx of another half a dozen chaplains in the hospital every day and the attention they gave to particular patient’s needs, some of the Social Workers felt threatened.  So that had to be worked through.

Also some of the other full time chaplains were OK with students  of their own denomination visiting their patients but were not happy with students from other denominations making those visits. So, very clear guide lines needed to be drawn up.

Another issue arose that did not directly relate to CPE but the result of it could greatly affect it. Because  we now had a half time secretary one of the other denomination chaplains thought he would use the secretary to send referral notes of all the patients of his denomination to their parish priest on their discharge.  This was done without the patient’s permission.  One patient complained to the Minister of Health. His response was that chaplains could only visit if the patient requested it and only be referred with the patient’s approval.

The second part we agreed with but the first part was too restrictive and would have prevented many helpful healing interviews.  We were able to make a good case to the minister and the decision was overturned and they were allowed to visit all the patients in a ward to which they had been assigned.

The introduction of each class of new students to the hospital was an important part of the CPE orientation program. Typically, there would be a brief tour of the hospital noting the many different categories of treatment the hospital offered. Then the students and supervisor would meet to discuss where each student would work.  When that was decided the supervisor would escort the students/chaplains to the wards they would be working in and officially introduce them to the charge staff.

Sunday worship services became an issue.  We were considering if the students could wheel patients to the chapel for Sunday worship as well as lay people rostered from a local church.  While we were negotiating this plan the hospital management approached us and asked us not to go forward with it. The reason for this request was that there had been a protest from the orderlies in the hospital who believed this was their job.  Being on a Sunday meant they would get higher rates of pay which made this a good opportunity for them.  The orderlies threatened to go on strike if we did this work on Sunday mornings.  So we backed off. The problem remaining was that the orderlies needed to know by Friday afternoon how many patients would be attending church so that sufficient orderlies could be rostered for the time. Patients could not be sure how they would be by Sunday and sometimes would change their minds Sunday morning because they were not well or their doctor had not completed their rounds. Exact numbers could not be given.

This meant that the Sunday services were largely a non-event as the chapel was a considerable distance from the hospital itself.  A service was held for a few ambulant patients but it was not very effective. The students generally arranged for the full time chaplains to visit their patients Sunday mornings and give them Holy Communion instead of going to chapel.

This continued until 1990 when Dean left the hospital and Bizz Jelly took over the department. Dean continued to conduct CPE units in Whyalla, but chose to offer his courses in a parish setting rather than in a hospital. He continued this work for the next four years until ill health caused him to move into retirement.

[1] At that time what today’s CPE Standards refer to as a ‘unit’ of CPE was called a ‘quarter’ of CPE; and a CPE year was usually divided into four quarters, corresponding to the seasons of the year. And each such quarter took the name of its particular season: summer, autumn, winter, spring.

Who are all these people?

This gallery of photos from those early days was provided by Dean Brook. But who are they all?! If anyone can fill in any of the details (using the Contact Form), please feel free to do so!

The QEH & Pastoral Care

In 1994 Ian Forbes wrote a history of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and incorporated within that the story of pastoral care, chaplaincy and CPE at the QEH. With permission we here include the chapter of the book in which that story occurs. (See pp 162, 165-168)

The QEH: a history.

An early newspaper article (click on the article for a larger view):