One of the goals of the eAntidote is to introduce you to the real poison experts who answer the phone at the Maryland Poison Center. In addition to being nurses and pharmacists, they are parents, grandparents, artists, athletes, sports fans, and more! Watch the video above and read the Q&A below to get to know one specialist, Elizabeth Millwee.
How did you end up a poison specialist?
I’m lucky that I picked a career that I love. I’ve been a nurse for 15 years, and I’ve never not enjoyed it. I got to know the Maryland Poison Center staff when I was an overnight nurse in a local emergency room. Everyone was always professional and courteous, and I knew from my interactions that the Maryland Poison Center must be a great place to work. I expressed my interest to one of the other specialists, and he let me know when a job opened up. I interviewed and got the job!
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I take a lot of pride in our “old fashioned customer service”. I love being able to tell somebody that I’ll call them back and check on them, and I can actually do that. There’s not an automated system that has you say “yes” if you’re feeling better or “no” if you’re not.
Why are poison centers and poison specialists like you important?
As poison specialists, we provide people with a lot of reassurance that things are going to be okay. People we are helping are often stressed or scared. I know what it feels like! I’m a mom – I’ve been there. Being anxious can make it harder for you to process information, so the first step is always to calm our callers down. I think about what somebody would need to tell me so that I could take that deep breath and really hear the information. The empathy we have for our callers makes us special.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I enjoy spending time with my kids. Together we adventure outdoors and create art. I also compete in sprint triathlons!