PROFESSIONALISATION ASPECTS OF SOCIAL WORK IN HEALTH FIELD IN THE UNITED STATES AND UKRAINE

Klos Lilia

Abstract


Introduction. In Ukraine the official list of professional health caring activity areas of social workers connections with clients is limited by a state classification of professions and regulated by Ukraine’s State Committee for Technical Regulation and Consumer Policy. The current range of practice places of a social worker, which provides health caring activity, is limited by psychiatric and drug hospitals, hospices, centers and departments for prevention and control of HIV, night shelters, drug addicted youth resocialization centers, boarding schools for elderly people and persons with disabilities, orphanages.
The current state of employment of US social workers in health field as an example of social work specialists’ scope, which is in high demand of customers and employers, is studied in the work. It is evidenced by the rapid necessity growth rates of health social workers in the labor market, and prospects of development of this area of practice compared to other professions. This trend promotes more social workers’ interest in acquiring relevant specialization or enhancing their skills in the field of health.
Purpose of the article - to determine the state of professionalisation of social work sphere of health in the United States and to identify opportunities in Ukraine
Results. In the US we can see that social work of health caring is separated from social work as an independent professional sphere. The results of analysis of health care social workers’ activity on the criteria of professionalism, offered by I. Weiss-Gal, P. Welbourne (2008), gives us evidences of it. Detailed description of the criteria are presented in the article «The professionalisation of social work: a cross-national exploration» in the magazine «International Journal of Social Welfare".
In view of changing situation in social sphere through global social transformation, the authors of the work supplemented their previous assessment model E.Greenwood by three more criteria.
When determining the independence of the profession, it was suggested to consider also: a) dominance in the division of labor in their field of practice and control the content of the activity; b) achievement of control over various aspects of activity (key components of work, selection and development of working methods, choice of training, licensing of profession members, autonomy in determining the nature of services and client categories, etc.); c) control of production, distribution and consumption of services.
We conducted evaluation of independence of health caring social work in the US on the base of updated criteria of professionalization, which include the recognition of professional status in society; professional monopoly for specific types of work; professional autonomy of action; availability of original knowledge base; professional education of specialists regulated by members of the professional community; availability of effective professional organization; realization of professional activities under professional codes of ethics; level of prestige and remuneration as performance of professional status.
Originality. The results of the analysis of social work in health care in the United States considering the stated criteria, give reason to affirm that professionalisation of health caring social work in this country is successfully completed. Nowadays the professional training of health care social workers is performed in this country on three educational levels - bachelor's and master's degrees in social work and Ph.D. in social work in the system of continuous social education. Lifelong learning as a basis of professional growth, promotes specialization and skill improvement of health social workers, ensures the formation of a highly competent specialist in the issues of health care, capable of providing of social services on the level of service standards.
Conclusion. Professional training, which is being implemented in different higher education institutions, is an important basis for professionalization of health caring activity of social workers in Ukraine. But a lot is still to be done: to get public recognition of the professional status; get professional monopoly on certain types of work; achieve professional autonomy; form a distinctive theoretical basis; create an effective professional organization; perform professional activities in accordance with an ethics code. All the mentioned factors will help in raising the prestige and remuneration as an indicator of professional status.

Keywords


social work; health caring activity; employment; professionalism; social work in health; social worker training; an interdisciplinary team of experts.

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