One of the goals of the eAntidote is to introduce you to the real poison experts who answer the phones at the Maryland Poison Center. In addition to being nurses and pharmacists, they are parents, grandparents, artists, athletes, sports fans, and more! Read the Q&A below to get to know one of our specialists: Kevin Simmons.
How did you end up a poison specialist?
I decided to pursue nursing after serving as a cardiac specialist in the military. Before coming to the Maryland Poison Center, I worked at the Baltimore Regional Burn Center. We had one patient that required me to consult with the poison center. My coworkers and I were impressed with the interaction we had with the poison center staff. It piqued my interest enough to ultimately apply for a position at the poison center. That was 1988, and I have been at the Maryland Poison Center since then.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I have worked the night shift for many years. In that time, I have built relationships with other professional staff, nurses, and doctors who work overnight, and we have come to trust one another. They rely on us to give them accurate advice, and because of our relationship, I know that they trust me, and the Maryland Poison Center, to assist them in providing optimal patient care.
Why are poison centers and poison specialists like you important?
We are here to help everyone — health care providers, first responders, and the public. We also serve as a link between health care professionals and the general public, because not every caller needs to be managed in a hospital. We can make that referral when necessary, but keep people at home whenever possible.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I like all things water — scuba diving, beaches, and aquariums. Because I am a big fan of Broadway shows of all genres, I also make frequent trips to New York City. I sing and enjoy listening to music, especially jazz. And of course, I like spending time with my wife, two daughters, and two cats.