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Christianity | Medicine and Health Sciences


This project seeks to determine if and how physicians and dentists understand their work as a vocation or calling. In order to accomplish this, we interviewed dentists and physicians who were at different points in their careers and analyzed the data in comparison with theological sources on vocation. Dentists defined their vocation in broad terms, saying that it was more than their work. Physicians, on the other hand, see their vocation to mean the work that they do as a physician. Both groups found the most fulfillment in their careers when they feel a sense of joy and excitement, when they are using their gifts and talents, and when they have the opportunity to show the love of God through service to others. To both groups, vocation is something that is always changing as time continues on. Challenges to fulfillment are the business aspect of working and busyness, which can take away the focus on serving others. When asked how they could promote fulfillment, both groups commented on prayer, discussion/conversation, and awareness/education. Research like this can help theologians as well as health professionals understand how vocation works in this field of work.


Faculty advisors: Kathleen Cahalan, Vincent Smiles, Kathy Cox, Mary Forman OSB