Socialinis darbas

patirtis ir metodai

Work with children who have cancer and their families: experiences of social services specialists

Review

A social service in pediatric oncology medical institutions of Lithuania is a relatively new field. Both in Lithuania and elsewhere around the world this field has not been researched well, even though the importance of research is growing together with the increasing number of children who suffer from cancer. Therefore the need for all kinds of specialists is also increasing. The goal of this work is to examine experiences of social services specialists working in the field of pediatric oncology in Lithuania. Working in institutions of pediatric oncology requires specific knowledge and skills, mostly due to the unusual and extreme working conditions of being constantly confronted with the never ending fight between death and life. Therefore the main emphasis of this work has been put on the analysis of the relationship between the specialists of the heath institutions and with their clients and the arising emotions that social services specialists experience in this constellation as well as their personal transformations. For the analysis of the social services specialists’ experiences an existentialist approach in theory has been applied. The paper consists of two parts – a theoretical one based on previously made researches and an empirical one on the basis of five newly taken half-structured expert interviews. Pediatric oncology in Lithuania is taking place in three institutions – Vilnius University childrens’ hospital, Kaunas Clinics and rehabilitation department “Saulutė” in Druskininkai childrens’ hospital. During the research interviews have been taken from social workers of both hospitals and social educators of the sanatorium. After the analysis of the collected data the most relevant results turned about to be the importance of the personal qualities and the individual maturity of the social services specialists themselves as well as the communication between the professionals of the institutions’ teams and other institutions or organizations.
Keywords: Oncology, Cancer, Children, Family, Existentialism.

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