Cooperation in student‘s field practice organization: students‘ experience
Social work is one of the young professions, which is still vague for many members of Lithuanian society. Some people deny necessity of social work; others associate social work with the maintenance of the poorest group of the society. People usually think that any 'good' person, who has never studied social work, can work as a social worker. Alas, it is not true. In order to become a professional social worker, a person must have not only theoretical knowledge but practical training as well, which students gain during social work practice in agencies providing social services.
Practice is a social activity in which students gain practical experience applying theoretical skills acquired at the university. According to Eidukevičiūtė (2009), learning process for future professional it is important to gain practical knowledge, which is discussed, conceptualized and modified in an unexpected, always atypical client's situation. Theoretical and practical knowledge integration is one of the biggest challenges in the process of practice.
The aim of the research was to investigate student's opinion about social work practice organization, while emphasizing importance of collaboration. Quantitative research method was used. Questionnaire (written quiz), which was sent by email to social work students was used. 29 respondents (students of VMU) participated in the survey, 7 of them were men and 22 – women; 4 of 29 were part-time students.
The results of the research have revealed that students evaluate practice process and collaboration with professionals, working in field placements, more professionally when they do not work in social service agencies and can assess the obtained knowledge, skills and experience more objectively. While the practice process is still continuing, students are subjective because field placements cause problematic situations which demand more professionalism and ability to control emotions.