Each week the RDH PIRA (Patient Impact & Rise Above) recognition program, sponsored by Water Pik, Inc., features a dental hygiene clinician who excels in his or her role and goes the extra mile. The past two and a half years have been a challenge for many clinicians and as we return to the operatory, we want to acknowledge those who provide patient care—clinicians who are changing their patients’ lives, influencing their patients’ health, and making a difference every day. This week we honor Shaun Holtsmaster, PHDHP.
"Shaun has been with my office for the last 21 years. She has always brought skill and compassion to our office in taking care of our patients, but the pandemic has taken her ambition, drive, and abilities to a new level. She embraced the changes that were necessary as a result of COVID-19 and helped create a safe work environment for our patients and our staff.
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"She and I worked seamlessly together to integrate the ADA toolkit into our office protocols. Shaun discussed at length the safety protocols that our office employs to our patients to make them feel comfortable and confident in receiving care from our office. She was thorough in history taking and charting when patients returned after the COVID absence.
"Our patients love the care and compassion that Shaun brings to our office, and I can always trust that Shaun is delivering superb care to our patients. She has refocused our hygiene patients on their home care, reviewing brushing and flossing, use of the Waterpik, and other adjunct oral care aids. She explains to patient the issues and complications of their medical conditions and medications. She is a credit to her profession and blessing to our office."
Shaun Holtsmaster, PHDHP, graduated with honors from Broome Community College in Binghamton, New York. She and her husband of 19 years, Mike, have two sons. She has worked in pediatrics, special needs, and general dentistry practice settings. For Shaun, choosing dental hygiene as a profession was easy; knowing she wanted a path in health care and also a family, dental hygiene allowed professionalism and flexibility.
Shaun says that since becoming a hygienist 24 years ago, it has become so much more than working with patients to educate and promote oral health. This became especially true in the midst of a pandemic when people became fearful of leaving their homes to go to the grocery store or attend family gatherings, let alone sit unmasked in a dental office. She’s learned that making a patient comfortable and receptive in a dental chair can be the biggest challenge, yet the most important: “A patient who is fearful is a patient who doesn’t return for care. It is my responsibility to ease their fears, answer their questions of concern, educate them of their needs, and do the best I can for each and every one of them.”