Diversity & Equality in Health and Care Open Access

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Science and spirituality in the clinic: medical doctors in Puerto Rico

Joan D Koss-Chioino, Jesus Soto Espinosa

This paper describes some of the findings of a predominantly qualitative study of the role of spirituality in clinical conventional medicine. A total of 74 Puerto Rican doctors, representing all specialties except psychiatry, took part in a phenomenological exploration of their medical and spiritual ways of being and how these were integrated into both their personal life and their clinical practice. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were recorded, transcribed and coded using MAXQDA, open coding and grounded theory. All but three of these doctors were grouped according to self-identification as religious, spiritual or spiritist. The latter group follows a philosophy based on the teachings of a French visionary, Allan Kardec (1804–1859), who codified an ethical, spirit-based belief system (spiritism, Espiritismo). These practices and beliefs are popular in Latin America and are also found in many other countries, such as the Philippines and France.