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RDH Advisory Board spotlight: Stephanie Botts, Connie Simmons, Joy Void-Holmes

May 24, 2023
Meet three members of the RDH Advisory Board. Each brings a unique perspective and expertise to our publications. Their responsibilities include peer review, content development, and connecting with the best experts.

Stephanie Botts, BSDH, RDH, CEAS

What is your focus for 2023?

In a nutshell, my focus is to just keep pushing! I am passionate about spreading the word about ergonomics in dentistry. We are in one of the highest-risk professions when it comes to injury and disability, and most of our issues can be prevented. But it all starts in the operatory with our movements and postures. Many of us haven’t been taught how to practice ergonomically, so now that’s my mission. My goals are to educate dental professionals through my speaking, consult with companies on how to better serve dental clinicians, and expand my coaching program to as many of my peers as possible. 

What has been your hardest lesson?

The hardest lesson throughout my life has been dealing with fear and getting out of my own way. For me, whether it was applying to hygiene school, going through hygiene school, working in the dental field, going back to school, or starting a business, fear has been ever present. If I had chosen to give in to my fear, I would not be who or where I am today. I had to push that feeling aside, let go of all the reasons why I shouldn’t, and just jump in with both feet. It’s amazing what we’re capable of when we get out of our own way and follow our passion. Our potential is truly limitless.

Want to read about more Advisory Board members? Amber Auger and Shelley Brown         

Connie Simmons, MA, BSDH, RDH

What has been your hardest lesson?

My hardest lesson occurred when I was about five years into my clinical career, and I almost walked away from it. I felt like a failure every time a patient returned with less than stellar oral hygiene or, even worse, with disease that wasn’t improving. I took it very personally and became depressed. My boss at the time had a discussion with me about learning to let this go if I was going to continue in the field that I loved so dearly. I was merely their coach and gave them the tools to succeed and improve their health. I’m so happy I took his advice, and I do the best I can with where patients are in their journey.

What advice would you give new graduates?

I think the advice many of us more “seasoned” dental hygienists would give new graduates is to make dental hygiene more than just a job. Find what you love and then focus on how you can expand on that. Invest in yourself from the beginning by attending live CE events and conferences, writing articles for our professional publications, connecting on social media platforms, seeking positions that best support you, and being a lifetime learner. Find the group of people who most support your passion and keep them close. We have amazing, smart, and very generous colleagues who would love to share with you. I’m so happy I did all these things and created an amazing career for myself. 

Joy Void-Holmes, BSDH, RDH, DHSc, AADH

What advice would you give a new graduate?

Be smart enough to know that you will never know everything. Learning is a never-ending journey. The best clinicians continue to indulge their love for learning not only to fulfill licensure requirements but also to stay in the know for their profession. Embrace new challenges and situations as an opportunity to grow. Remember your why, for it will serve as your purpose throughout your career. And lastly, know that your hands have the power to save lives! 

What is your focus for 2023?

My focus is to highlight the importance of hands-on courses for dental hygienists, particularly in the area of manual and ultrasonic instrumentation. I have to renew my CPR every year to maintain my license and I’ve done so the past 25 years, yet thankfully, I’ve never had to use my CPR skills in a clinical setting. I have never been required to hone my clinical skills. As clinicians, far too often we want to blame our patients for recurrent disease, and while many times they are at fault, so are we! It is important that we continue to sharpen our skills and learn about new technologies that will help enhance patient treatment outcomes and promote career longevity.

Editor's note: This article appeared in the May 2023 print edition of RDH magazine. Dental hygienists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.