Alumni Corner – James Spivey

Alumni Corner – James Spivey

James Spivey

When James Spivey earned his Associate degree in Nursing from Essex County College in 2020, he was also starting his one-year term as President of the New Jersey Nursing Students, Inc. His leadership role carried the added distinction as he was the first African American to hold that position. “That was an amazing honor,” he said.

From ECC, James headed to Clara Maass Medical Center, in Belleville, part of RWJBarnabas Health.

“When I graduated, we were in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. That was a scary time working in the ER,” James, a Roselle resident, recalled. He saw that patients were especially traumatized and wanted to help in a meaningful way.

“I advocate for my patients at their most vulnerable times, and I’ve seen how mental health care can really help people,” James said, who worked as a behavioral health nurse.

His work at Clara Maass was highlighted in RWJBarnabas Health’s Nurses series. “That was a real honor being recognized as spokesperson for their department,” James said. In the series he said, “My team has coped with the increased demand for mental health services by taking care of each other so we can give our all to our patients.”

“Working at Clara Maass has been fantastic, but I want to help even more people. Plus, I love to travel,” said James explaining his decision to enter into a new phase of his Nursing career.  James is now a Travel Nurse.

“Travel Nurses are in demand, especially in areas hard hit by the pandemic,” James said. He recently completed a stint in California, which included work at a correctional facility. He said the assignments, contracted through an agency, can be anywhere in the country. “That’s exciting and I love the lifestyle.”

James’ success comes as no surprise to Dr. Gale Gage, Chair of ECC’s Nursing Department.” James was a reserved student at first, who gained his confidence and clinical competency after tackling several of the more difficult courses in the program.  He has been recognized by his peers for his perseverance and leadership,” she said.

“ECC changed my life, providing me the skills needed to be a competent Nurse and deal with adversity. I’ve received a life-long career and that can’t be replaced. The training from my professors was priceless,” James said.