By Darlene L. Williams, Contributing Writer
BAKERSFIELD, CA — BenEece J. Davis-Phillips is a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-C) in Kern County. She is among a small percentage of Black females who make up the total sum in this particular medical field. Davis-Phillips may be the only African American female in Bakersfield who owns the company she practices in. At the time of this article, the Bakersfield News Observer (BNO) could not locate any other such practice privately owned and operated by a black female.
Statistics show, “The most common ethnicity of Family Nurse Practitioners is White (76.5%), followed by Asian (8.5%) and Black or African American (6.6%)”. Within the 6.6 percent of Black or African American practitioners—“shines” BenEece J. Davis-Phillips.
In recognition of Black History Month and the significant impact that African American men and women have had on American history and culture, Davis-Phillips joins the expansive stage with her commendable contribution to society and black heritage. The Bakersfield News Observer (BNO) applauds and shares her story in this week’s special segment of, IN THE SPOTLIGHT. The BNO compiled a series of questions for a Q & A to gain knowledge of who she is and the profession she serves in.
BNO: What is your name and age (if you don’t mind sharing?)
A: BenEece J. Davis-Phillips, FNP-C. I’ll be 62 on February 18th.
BNO: What is the name of your company/practice?
A: PHILLIPS HEALTHCARE A NURSE PRACTITIONER-LED NURSING CORPORATION
There are so many health disparities experienced by people of color. This was part of my motivation for opening a clinic. I think by providing more access to the community, the very community in which I grew up, I could help lessen these disparities.
BNO: How many years has your business been in operation?
A: 1 1/2 YEARS, We offer Primary Care, Direct Primary Care, IV Hydration and NutrientTherapy—for energy, for health, dehydration, muscle overuse, hair skin and nails, handover help, and migraines. Many of our drips may be helpful for chronic conditions.
BNO: How are you adjusting to the pandemic and how has it impacted your business?
A: We are adjusting very well. We follow CDC guidelines to keep patients safe and in good health. We offer COVID vaccines and COVID testing at the clinic. We also have a plan to minimize exposure to COVID to our patients and staff by reducing wait time spent in the waiting room. This is consistent with our primary care goals to get or keep you healthy and promote wellness and prevention of disease.
BNO: Do you believe in dreams? Why or Why not?
A: Yes. I believe in dreams. So many books speak of dreams and what they mean. I’ve read somewhere that we forget about 95% of our dreams pretty soon upon awakening. I love dreams because they allow us to look at things that we have never considered for ourselves, of things that scare us to death, and of things that just don’t make any sense to us.
It allows us to think about the possibilities we can experience in life. These may evolve into a drive, a will to do something that we may have not otherwise considered. A dream, in part, was the genesis of Phillips Healthcare. When an opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it to fulfill that dream of being able to make health-related decisions that would be positively impactful for our community.
BNO: Who do “You” say that you are?
A: I am an encourager–a cheerleader. I want people to feel encouraged, and empowered in their lives. I have been told also that I am a seer, that I can see into the future and then walk that vision back to the now and follow the path to the future.
In the clinic, I try to do the same thing. What are the goals of the patient for the future? Where is the patient now? What type of bridge do we need to construct to ferry the patient from illness to wellness. Many believe wellness to be the complete absence of disease. I believe that health is to control disease and push off its less than pleasant effects way off into the future so that, if possible, we can live as if we have no disease.
BNO: If you could speak to your younger self, what would you say?
A: I would say thank you. Not that she did everything perfectly but that she did what she could do. I say this because every decision she made–whether perceived as good or bad has to lead me here, to this very place.
BNO: Since wealth constitutes more than just money, what does wealth mean to you?
A: There is a saying that says health is wealth and I believe it has been attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson who was a poet, lecturer, and abolitionist. Many people who have monetary wealth, would give it all to be able to walk in the sand again or pick up their grandchildren, or do other things that they used to do but because of their health, their true wealth, has failed them.
One of the best ways that people can hold on to their health longer is to see their healthcare provider regularly and participate in your care. If you don’t’ have a primary care provider we are here to help provide that care to you. We often have same-day appointments or can usually book you in within 24 hours. We accept insurance and we have plans for people without insurance. If you need an appointment or more information, please give us a call 661-407-2360.
BNO: Did you face challenges such as rejection, ridicule, lack of support or resources, if so, how did you handle it?
A: Yes, I think many if not most people have experienced these things from time to time. I have to consider my part in being met with these forces and if, when they have been truthfully examined and you bear no responsibility for these things being heaped upon you then think on things that are positive, good, and laudable and magnify and amplify these good virtues and do not dwell for too long on misplaced negativity.
However, sometimes whether we experienced this type of treatment, it causes us emotional pain that is often difficult to move through just by having a shake it off mentality. We often need help to move through these “shadows of death” which affect our spirit. Phillips Healthcare can listen and hear what you are going through and help facilitate appropriate treatment, counseling, or therapy to get you on the way to healing. Health does not just pertain to your body, but it includes your body, mind, and spirit!ˇ
BNO: Do you believe that it’s important to be personable with people who have not made it as far as you have? Why or Why not?
A: Absolutely! Our journeys are all different. Life is sometimes like a see-saw; One day you’re up and one day you’re down. We must, despite all things, we must love. We must respect all people. There is a book that I love and it speaks of being careful how we entertain strangers because they may be angels.
You never know what role that person may have in your life, a potential patient, friend, or someone who is here just to give you an impression about something. Perhaps they are presenting you with an opportunity. We must be very careful how we entertain strangers or people who are less fortunate.
BNO: What has been your greatest accomplishment(s)?
A: My family—specifically my children. They are my glory. I look at them and I see the fullness in their hearts, the love they have for people, and how they allow their abundance to flow onto others.
BNO: What advice would you give to an aspiring businessman or businesswoman?
A: What have you always wanted to do? What are your dreams? What are you good at? What are you not so good at? Do you have an opportunity that is before you? Can you make an opportunity happen?
Are there scary things that you feel may stand in your way? Answer truthfully, and make your plan. Be prepared to laugh and to cry. Be prepared to have to vanquish negative self-talk. Be prepared to have the Coach Taylor pep talk in the middle of the night when you are scared. But, most of all they must be prepared to touch people, to rise and fall, and to succeed—which can be the scariest thing of all.
BNO: Share something about yourself that (I) didn’t ask and (we) don’t know
A: Why spoil the mystery that is yet unfolding—you’ll see.