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‘Am I a Christian Doctor?’ Exploring the faith consequences and identity implications of healthcare work among evangelical medics in England

RILEY, JENNIFER,AMY (2020) ‘Am I a Christian Doctor?’ Exploring the faith consequences and identity implications of healthcare work among evangelical medics in England. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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While academic interest in the relationship between religion, spirituality and healthcare work has flourished in recent decades, comparatively little attention has been given to healthcare practitioners than to patients. Where practitioners have been the focus of research, this has tended to emphasise the ways in which their religion, faith or spirituality shapes their work, rather than how their work might shape their faith.
This thesis presents a study of the relationship between faith and work in the lives of evangelical Christians working, training for, or retired from healthcare work in the NHS in England. Using an autobiographical elicitation methodology, this study gathered and analysed qualitative data to illuminate the impact healthcare work can have upon those with evangelical faith. Situating this within scholarship, it synthesises and builds upon existing insights as to the consequences of healthcare work for faith and religious identity through the lens of a specific case study. This thesis maps several potential ‘faith consequences,’ observing ways in which the participants’ faiths were both ‘deployed in’ and ‘shaped by’ healthcare work: Calling; Resourcing; Opposing; Changing; Questioning; Compartmentalising; Compromising; Negotiating; and Growing.
This thesis also considers how these faith consequences relate to the evangelical medics’ identities. On the one hand, it traces a persistent desire and drive for work-faith affinity and consonant identity as ‘Christian medics.’ In places this was perceived; in others, it was achieved, not least through the participants’ responses to tensions arising at the interface of their work and faith. On the other hand, the participants maintained a hierarchy of identity, prioritising their faith above their work and seeking to be ‘Christian first and medic second.’ As such, some tensions between work and faith were theologically important, and not resolved. This observation of affinity-with-dissonance echoes broader scholarship in observing that evangelicals thrive because of engagement-with-distinction.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Healthcare, Evangelicalism, Medical Ethics, Identity, Affinity, Worldviews, Lived Religion
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 Jan 2021 14:28

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