Leading and Succeeding at Lurie Children's with Reba Mathew

Stories in: Leadership

When Reba Mathew was growing up, she knew she wanted to pursue a career in healthcare. As Reba got older she questioned whether or not she really wanted to pursue a career in nursing - a widely popular career choice in her state in India. But ultimately, Reba felt a passion and drawn to the nursing career. She knew she wanted to help patients, directly taking care of them and building relationships. She applied to nursing school and began her career path.

During nursing school, Reba did her pediatric rotation at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. That experience made her recognize that working with kids was her calling. After graduation, she got married and moved to Chicago to be closer to her husband’s family–that’s when she found Lurie Children's.

Now, Reba is the Clinical Coordinator of Otolaryngology.

We talked with her about why she wanted to work at Lurie Children's, why she’s proud to be a leader, and much more. Here’s what she had to say!

What attracted you to Lurie Children's?

"The hospital that I was working for back in Houston, MD Anderson, was a teaching hospital and a magnet hospital; it was on the cutting edge of medicine. I loved being a part of that there. When I first moved to Chicago, I actually had a different job at one of the community hospitals way outside of Chicago. When I came to Lurie Children's to do my interviews, it felt like home. You could just tell that people cared about the patients and that they wanted the kids to have a positive experience even though they were going to be in the hospital. Lurie Children's is also on the cutting edge of research and technology, so it just felt like it was a better fit than being at a community hospital."

What makes you proud to be a leader at Lurie Children's?

"Knowing that I work at one of the leading children's hospitals in the country and that I get to be a leader here is great. It makes me proud that I get to work with a lot of amazing nurses and amazing techs; there's so much that I've learned from so many people. Being a leader, part of the job is being teachable and able to learn from everyone. Having the opportunities that I have to interact with surgeons on the level that I do is incredible. I really get to collaborate with them, we get to work on projects together, and I get their input and feedback. I feel like because of the surgeons having my back and supporting me and empowering me, it makes me feel like I can do a really good job in my role."

How has Lurie Children's provided you the skills to be a leader?

"When I started in this role, I was able to take a lot of leadership classes, some of those were with Jacob Goldstein. One of the things we did when we had a lot of new coordinators was have Jacob come every other week for a few months to give us different leadership seminars. He would meet and talk with us and do different exercises. That was really helpful in being able to grow in different aspects of leadership. Lurie Children's also has classes that you can sign up for in We Learn, and I did a lot of those and they were really helpful for me. It was really nice to be able to interact with people from other departments because, a lot of the time in the OR, we can be siloed off a little bit which makes it hard to meet people from other departments and learn how other departments do things. Being able to interact with leaders from other departments was really helpful for me, too, because they have different ideas for how to recognize staff or boost morale. It was fun to find different ways to apply that to the operating room."

Why is Lurie Children's a great place to be a leader?

"We get a lot of support here. Because of all of these classes and workshops that Jacob does, there's a lot of support available to us and a lot of opportunities for growth and improvement. I think those are the things that are necessary for leaders to succeed; having support, having people to bounce ideas off of, having the freedom of being able to go talk to someone and be honest about what's going on or what's difficult. I know that for me, I've been able to meet with our senior director a few times and it has really been helpful to interact with someone even though she's several steps above me. Interacting with her and getting her feedback on the plans that I have, knowing that I have her support and that she understands what I'm trying to do, and getting advice from her on how to do these different projects that I have - it's been really helpful. I think that if you want to be a leader somewhere, that has to be part of the environment or else it makes it really difficult and you feel like you're just hitting a brick wall, so it's been nice for me to have that support."

If you’re ready to work alongside the best team of leaders in pediatric medicine, apply today and join our team!