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), as well as our staff members. 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 our toxicology fellow: Nick Husak.
Why did you go into the field of pharmacy?
In school, I really enjoyed chemistry and science. Additionally, I found pharmacy to be unique because it gave me the opportunity to be an expert within my own field that others could rely on for medicine information and recommendations.
How did you end up working at the poison center?
As a student, I had a rotation at Upstate New York Poison Center. This rotation is what sparked my initial interest in toxicology. While completing my residency in Louisiana, I was involved in different projects that focused on emergency medicine and toxicology, which further contributed to my desire to pursue a fellowship position.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I have the chance to work with a small, tightly-knit group of people who share my passion and interests. Furthermore, I enjoy learning as many new things as possible. Toxicology is a niche field that has plenty of clinical pearls, history, and unique information to offer. There is never a shortage of learning opportunities.
Why are poison centers and poison specialists like you important?
Poison centers and the individuals who work here are charged with managing cases and exposures that other health care facilities typically don’t manage on a day-to-day basis. As poison specialists, we have expert knowledge that is required to treat cases of poisoning and we help doctors and nurses manage these patients. We learn a lot of information that helps us handle very unique cases and circumstances. We also play an important role in sharing poisoning prevention and safety information with the public in order to limit potential exposures.
What’s an important message you want to share about poison safety?
Be aware of what potential poisons are in your home. Are those potential poisons left out or stored up, away, and out of sight? It is always a good idea to make sure these items are safely put away, especially when children, pets, or other guests are around. Additionally, we are equipped to handle all kinds of calls at the poison center. There is never a wrong question or reason to contact us; we’re here to help!
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I like to keep an active lifestyle when not working. I enjoy working out and playing sports, especially pickup basketball. I also enjoy trying new foods and restaurants. Lastly, I play video games with friends from back home to keep in touch now that we are all working in different parts of the country.