SPU’s vocation initiative has been designed to help students recognize their unique “calling” or mission and to take the next steps in a life-long journey. In the past, a profession was distinguished by a particular practice as a moral endeavor or sacred trust. With the transformation of medicine into a modern enterprise, we have witnessed a shift away from altruistic service to a focus on one’s personal goals. Our Christian faith, however, “transforms a profession into a vocation and distances both from occupation. A vocation is a call to a way of life defined not solely by the set of activities that constitute a career or by even the pursuit of an ethical occupation within constraints that normally define a profession. A vocation to the Christian life entails the metamorphosis of even the most mundane activity to the level of grace,” according to Dr. Edmund Pellegrino. Consequently, we support students in the gradual accumulation of academic and personal knowledge about their professional goals and self.

We hope to help students foster the ever-stronger conviction that they are meant to work at a particular mission throughout their life. We want to see them cultivate a sense of the “grace” required for their particular area in health care.

“Medicine is a vocation in which a doctor’s knowledge, clinical skills, and judgement are put in the service of protecting and restoring human well-being. This purpose is realized through a partnership between patient and doctor, one based on mutual respect, individual responsibility, and appropriate accountability.”

We believe that any high calling requires an intentional preparation that includes clinical exploration, community service, and vocational discernment. Throughout their studies at SPU, our Pre-Professional Health Sciences students spend time writing and reflecting on their experiences working in the clinic and serving the disadvantaged. In this process, our students endeavor to determine their revealed “calling” through careful discernment and decision-making until they are confident and committed to their own destiny in health care.

“What makes Seattle Pacific University's PPHS program so special, in my opinion, is that the faculty put such an emphasis on preparing their students to be well rounded in academic, extracurricular involvements, AND spirituality. The focus is not on choosing just a career, but a vocation. ”
Quincy Pham
Medical Student, University of Washington