Regis Assistant Professor Lawana Brown talk with Family Nurse Practitioner Felicia Beckham recognized for her compassion and exceptional care

Family Nurse Practitioner Felicia Beckham MSN, RN, FNP-BC head shotHistory’s most notable nurse would undoubtedly be proud to learn that certified Family Nurse Practitioner Felicia Beckham MSN, RN, FNP-BC is one of this year’s Florence Nightingale Awards for Excellence in Nursing recipients. The honor is given by the University of Cincinnati for “extraordinary individuals who demonstrate the great nursing talent in the Greater Cincinnati region. These professionals combine intelligence, critical thinking, and compassion, working tirelessly to provide exceptional care and advance the field of nursing.”

Beckham, who currently work at University of Cincinnati Department of Family and Community Medicine in the geriatric division, serves on the Cincinnati Health Department’s COVID-19 Task Force and founded Cincinnati’s Black Nurse Practitioner Network in 2019.

“I try to understand my patients from just a human standpoint and that we all have obstacles and that we all have a story and that that story impacts how we view healthcare and how we make decisions about healthcare and other things around us,” Beckham tells Regis College Assistant Professor Lawana Brown. “You have to understand the patient as a whole in order to really be strategic in their success to their healthcare.”

When Beckham listens to her patients, she often hears details about their lives that help her put the pieces together and be a more empathetic and effective practitioner. “A lot of patients when they were tested positive for COVID, they still went to work because they had to work,” she says. “So, just having those conversations, again, going back to seeing the patient as a whole and understanding that when I say you can’t go to work, that means they can’t pay their bills, that means they can’t put food on the table, so all of these things have a snowball effect on COVID and how it really affects the patient not only just from a healthcare standpoint but just from a success in survival mode as well.”

Beckham is also aware of the toll the pandemic has taken on those in her profession including herself. “It was a struggle mentally and physically,” she confesses. “You worry about what will happen to me if I catch it but also what will happen to my family if I give it to them. So, really just being vigilant about educating my family, being vigilant about making sure I’ve taken the proper precautions for myself but also giving myself some grace and a break. For me, it was really tough because not only was the COVID pandemic going on but also we had George Floyd, too. So for me, it was a lot because I’ve never endured a pandemic, I’ve never endured that much injustice in both realms. So, for me it was really was just taking a step back to really prioritize myself so I could take care of other people.”

One of just seven Nightingale honorees, Beckham acknowledges that, “Awards are great—I’m thankful. But when a patient can understand why they take their blood pressure medication, when a patient can understand why smoking is not a good choice for them, when a patient can tell me that hey, I’ve been dealing with insomnia but I’m able to sleep seven or eight hours now, just getting them to be able to understand certain aspects in their healthcare making a difference, that’s what drives me.”