Finding More at Lurie Children’s Anne Szmergalski

Stories in: Allied Health

Eight years ago, Anne Szmergalski was longing for more. She longed to learn more, challenge herself, be mentored, and to advance her skills as an occupational therapist. More is just what Anne got when she joined Lurie Children’s.

There are a lot of different options out there for occupational therapists, but no place is like Lurie Children’s. We see a wide variety of conditions, patients, and families from different walks of life and even different parts of the world–that’s what keeps Anne coming back year after year.

To find out how she has grown and developed in her career, we talked to Anne about her time at Lurie Children’s so far. Here’s what she said!

Why should an interested candidate join your team?

I think this is a place where you are pushed outside of your comfort zone as far as learning on a pretty regular basis, but in a very supportive way, which I think is unique. You can find a lot of places that will put you outside of your comfort zone but not offer you the guidance and support to do it well. I feel like at Lurie Children’s there are a lot of challenges, but I’m always supported. It’s a place where you’re allowed to really take the initiative for your own learning, and you’ll get out of it what you put into it. I really think this is a place for people that really want to push themselves and learn and be part of a really dynamic team where we are all learning from each other and teaching each other at the same time.

Is there anyone on your team or at Lurie that inspires you to be better?

I feel like with every client and family I work with I’m learning every day and every week, and I’m learning how to be a little bit better. Maybe I learn how to explain something differently, so I can use that the next time it comes up, and I can have a parent understand something a little bit better, so I feel like I’m kind of being taught all the time by my clients. I also think that going back to the rapport and relationship that I have with my colleagues, we’re all so supportive of each other and everyone has a really good and positive attitude. Things can get hard, and things can get stressful, but everyone is really in it together, and I think that when we are in that kind of climate, you just want to keep pushing yourself to be better and to help carry your weight for the team.

What advice would you offer new employees?

I would say I know it can sometimes feel a little bit overwhelming coming into such a busy and big facility, but just have confidence in your skills, take the initiative that you need for your own learning, and then seek out support when you need it.

What has Lurie contributed to your life outside of a career?

For me, it comes back to my career, but I feel that I have a lot more confidence in my skills as a clinician, and I think that I’ve been able to develop more leadership skills. I’ve also been able to create more confidence with providing in-services for staff and teaching, and that’s purely through opportunities that came about by being with Lurie Children’s. I think they’ve helped me both professionally and personally to have a little bit more confidence to use my skills and to share some of my background and knowledge with other people in the community.


Are you ready to learn and expand your knowledge alongside a talented team? Apply today and join our team!