Getting Creative with Kevin Durney

Stories in: Allied Health

Creativity, a word not often used in the health care field. That is unless you’re like Kevin Durney.


Montana-native Kevin was working in education administration when he realized he was more interested in working one-on-one with kids and their families. So, Kevin went back to school to become an Occupational Therapist.


Fast-forward to three years ago when Kevin was looking for jobs in the area and the only place he could imagine spending his future was Lurie Children’s. Now, as an Outpatient Occupational Therapist at Lurie Children’s, he sees the impact he makes on children and their families every day.


Last week, we spoke with Kevin to find out he’s enjoying his first job out of school and what it’s like to be part of our team at Lurie Children’s. Here’s what he said!


What keeps you coming back every day?


I think everyone who works here will tell you that it’s the patients, first and foremost. The patients and families are fantastic, but the thing that truly is exceptional about working at Lurie Children's is really feeling so supported by every level of administration. Really, every person I work with is ultimately committed to providing the best possible patient care, rather than being motivated by any of the other factors that sometimes will contribute to decisions that are made in a healthcare environment. I think that they really keep the patient first.


Why should an interested candidate join your team?


The best reason to join this team is to learn absolutely everything there is to know about treating any pediatric population. Especially with the hospital being a major hospital in the Chicago area, I think it just has the highest degree of diversity of any pediatric Occupational Therapy provider in the Chicago area, and in addition to that I think it has the type of support, training, and mentorship to ensure that every therapist here has adequate tools to treat that incredibly diverse patient population.


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


I’m inspired by the legacy of Mary Weck, a Physical Therapist who we sadly lost this year. I feel so lucky to have been able to work alongside someone who was so selflessly committed to children and families. Mary was incredibly intelligent, but even more than her knowledge and skills, what truly inspired me about her was her boundless compassion and commitment to doing everything in her power to help children overcome obstacles and thrive. Her joyful energy touched everyone she encountered, and I aspire every day to live up to her example. I’m so grateful to work for an organization where I can learn directly from such influential leaders in our field and be continuously inspired to keep learning and developing as a therapist.


What excites you the most about your role?


The opportunity to be creative–this is a field where there is no cookbook, you can't follow a recipe for Occupational Therapy, and I would argue that a good occupational therapist is always changing, always evolving, always trying out new ideas. I think it’s the opportunity to be creative and really feel like that creativity is supported and encouraged, and that no one is expecting me to follow a set protocol for anyone, regardless of their age, diagnosis, or presenting areas of need; I feel like I ultimately can try any idea that pops into my head.

I think it's something that's truly unique about our whole rehab department, there's an emphasis on being evidence-driven, but at the same time using that evidence and extrapolating the core principles that are critical to those positive patient outcomes, but finding creative and different paths of incorporating them in a playful way that motivates the kids to participate in order to reach those goals.


Anything else people should know?


This is more in contrast to other similar positions in the city of Chicago, but I just feel that Lurie Children's is such a strong advocate of working collaboratively with the families to identify areas where they might need a little more support, and really targeting the therapy towards meeting those family goals versus presenting therapy as something that's just ongoing forever because maybe it's an outpatient clinic that's dependent on billing insurance in order to keep their doors open.

I just feel like my decisions are never influenced by anything other than who this family is, what their needs are, and how I feel I can best provide for them and support that family and support that child–I feel like there's just absolutely nothing that plays into my clinical decision-making.


Are you interested in starting a new career surrounded by supportive, knowledgeable, and dedicated teammates? Apply today and join our team!