Department of Neurosurgery

LIFESPAN – Jim Conway, RN, MS, NE-BC, the Department of Neurosurgery’s Spine Surgery Program Manager, was Nominated for Lifespan’s 2020 CARE Person of the Year Award.

James Conway, MS, RN, NE-BC, is clinical manager of the department of neurosurgery. He joined Lifespan 18 years ago as a student nurse associate, 11 years into his 29-year career as a firefighter and EMT. Through his years at Lifespan, he has earned his associate of science in nursing degree from CCRI and his bachelor of science in nursing and master of science degree in health care administration at Salve Regina University.

Having originally started out in nursing studies, Conway left to join the fire service. When he began to envision his work life after retiring from that career, he was drawn back to nursing, a profession that runs in his family. An aunt and four cousins work as Lifespan nurses.

Nominator Mustafa Mazlumoglu, director of neurosurgery and neurology, said:

“During the COVID-19 crisis, Jim Conway has shown exceptional performance in managing our clinical operations. Due to our specialty and medical urgency of the conditions we treat (neuro-oncology, neuro-trauma, etc.), … we had to continue providing care for our patients at a time when we needed to make significant changes in our daily operations but at the same time protect and ensure the safety of our staff and providers. Jim was essential in implementing operational changes in the department to achieve these objectives.

“He has consistently shown our shared values in the best possible way. He is a role model for our staff with his care for our patients, accountability, expressing respect even in the most difficult cases, and excellence in his performance.”

Conway said:

“It’s not about us, it’s about the patient, and what we can do for the patient. So, no matter what needs to be done behind the scenes, the patient should never know that. We figure it all out, and get it done.”

“I live by ‘It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it; it’s not what you do, but how you do it.’ And it really reflects on who we are and how we want to take care of patients. I believe that’s the image of Lifespan and our CARE values. I truly believe in those CARE values, and I think that’s what drives me.”

Asked about a memorable moment during his years at Lifespan, Conway said “There have been many. … One time, we had a patient in the hospital doing extremely poorly, and he told me it was his anniversary. So, I went out and got an anniversary card so that he could give it to his wife. … It’s those little things where we can make a connection.”

What he likes best about his job is “The family that’s here. Whether it was when I worked on step-down, when I was first a nurse, or here, it’s all about that collaboration, that we work together to take care of our patients. I really enjoy that whole dynamic. On Mother’s Day, I got up early and I texted all my staff who are moms. Some of them said, ‘Wow, I’ve never had a manager do that.’ … It’s those little things that mean a lot.”

He strongly encourages individuals who are considering applying for positions at Lifespan. “It’s the greatest place to work: It’s the benefits, it’s the collaboration, it’s a place to grow. … I often say to new RNs, ‘Just because you started in this position doesn’t mean you’re going to end up here. You’ve got a full career in front of you. You just have to figure out the right place for you and then go for it.’ We’re succeeding if we’re promoting from within.”


Jim Conway, RN, MS, NE-BC

Director of Clinical Operations