One of the goals of our eAntidote blog is to introduce you to the real poison experts who answer the phones at the Maryland Poison Center (MPC). 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: Jeanne Wunderer.
How did you end up a poison specialist?
After 10 years of working as a medical technologist, I decided to go to pharmacy school. I started my career in retail pharmacy, moved to home health, then moved back to retail. In 2001, I joined the staff at the MPC.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
When I was working in retail, I wasn’t able to counsel patients. Now, working at the poison center, I get to counsel patients and actively engage with them to provide important health information. I like working in emergency medicine, and this center is almost like an emergency room setting. I enjoy learning from my coworkers, as they come from many different health care settings. But above all, helping callers is the most rewarding part of what I do. If I can make one person’s day better, then I did my job! As an added bonus, I am able to work a flexible schedule, which allows me to spend time with my son.
Why are poison centers and poison specialists like you important?
Poison centers are important because we help cut hospital costs. We prevent emergency room visits, as we are often able to manage a majority of our poison exposure calls with observation at the patient’s home. As poison specialists, we have a wealth of knowledge. This is an excellent service that is provided for free, but some people don’t know that we exist.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
When not working, I spend my time with my son and support him in all of his sports activities. I also enjoy doing home improvement. I have two cats, and enjoy watching one of them as he walks around the house with a stuffed animal in his mouth. I am also active in running and enjoy being outdoors.