Beverly Spencer can recall that even in her youth, she had a desire to become a nurse. That desire blossomed into a passion which perseveres to this day.
Even back then, Spencer knew that she wanted to have a role in healthcare that allowed her to spend quality time with patients but also emphasized teaching, something that can be lost when receiving attention from a physician. Her nursing professors encouraged her to study pre-med coursework and become a physician.
“I strongly believe my calling is to be a nurse,” says Spencer, who joined New Community Extended Care as the new Director of Nursing in August. “One key difference between being a nurse and a physician is the amount of time spent with a patient observing, learning and listening for clues in the person’s presence,” Spencer said. “That’s how you will feel what they are not telling you,” she added.
Nursing Administrator Veronica Onwunaka highlighted Spencer’s range of clinical experience gained by working with several community healthcare providers, including East Orange General Hospital, St. Michael’s Medical Center and Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation.
Spencer “has over 27 years of clinical, holistic, and administrative and nursing experience combined,” according to Onwunaka.
Prior to beginning her tenure at Extended Care, Spencer excelled in providing quality medical administrative expertise and care as a school nurse in an urban high school. “The opportunity to work with the children brought me full circle; although much of my interest is with senior patients and geriatric care, attending to the daily medical needs of young people gives a new perspective on the continuum of health and well-being.” Spencer said.
In regard to her current position at Extended Care, a five-star rated skilled nursing facility located at 266 South Orange Ave. in Newark, Spencer said, “I see where I feel I can make a difference. I expect the professional staff here is eager to impart the changes necessary to continue advancing our level of service and care. I look forward to being a part of that growth.”
Spencer has several goals for the facility, including increasing the overall census, improving customer service, staff wellness and cohesiveness, as well as cultivating an environment for professional networking. She believes these goals are not only attainable, but should also be priorities for the entire Extended Care family.
Spencer said she would like to see New Community Extended Care Facility become “a household name.”
“We have to be a trusted provider for the senior community – for the entire community,” she said.
Spencer is also looking forward to collaborating with Onwunaka, who served as director of nursing for many years before accepting a position as the facility’s Nursing Administrator in September.
“I enjoy working with someone who seems to have such a special relationship with the staff,” Spencer says of Onwunaka.
While her demeanor may appear “stern,” Spencer described herself as having a gentle personality and an open door policy.
A longtime Essex County resident, Spencer enjoys reading, exercising, and learning more about nursing and holistic care in her free time. “I live for challenges,” she said. “Everything that is good can be better.”