Have you ever wondered what goes on inside a poison center in addition to the calls for assistance? The 24/7 telephone service is what we are most known for and is a vital service, but there are other services and activities that take place. In a previous blog, we learned about the small but mighty team of staff members here at the Maryland Poison Center (MPC). You may have noticed that there were jobs that went beyond our telephone service. Let’s dive deeper into the other services of the MPC today.
With every new case, our poison specialists collect information to understand and manage the situation. We collect standard information including:
- the substance involved
- the amount involved
- how long ago it happened
- any symptoms the person is having
- zip code
The data we collect from cases is uploaded every 30 minutes to the National Poison Data System. Poison centers from across the country upload their data to this system so that we can track important events such as emerging hazards to keep the public safe.
For more detailed information on how we use the different pieces of information we ask callers, one of our poison specialists shared in a previous blog Why So Many Questions?
We are able to do research on poisonings and overdoses because of the data we collect. This research gives us insight on trends of poisonings and overdoses and lets us analyze information on how to best treat and manage them.
The MPC staff have been published in countless toxicology and medical research publications.
Health Care Professional Education
Pharmacy, Medical, and Nursing Students and Residents
Part of our mission is to educate health care professionals about our services and how we can assist them when caring for poisoning and overdose patients. To do this, we welcome medical students, residents, fellows, nurses, and pharmacists from various hospitals to join our daily case conference. Our medical director and clinical toxicologists discuss in detail interesting cases and provide in-depth review of various topics in toxicology.
Health Care Professional Programs
Our health care professional educator provides in-service trainings for hospital staff members, paramedics, and first responders in our service area. These cover different topics of toxicology (the study of poisons) for a range of poisoning and overdose information and management. Examples of topics include general management of poisonings, drugs of abuse, toxic gases, and antidotes.
Emergency Medical Services Students
We have a partnership with the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)’s emergency health services program, as well as the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC)’s emergency medical technology program. Through this partnership, students learn about our work and poisonings and overdoses by visiting the poison center.
The MPC offers a two-year clinical toxicology fellowship for pharmacists. Through this program, fellows receive in-depth learning and experience in clinical toxicology. Not only do the fellows learn here at the MPC and the School of Pharmacy, they also complete rotations at other local hospitals and health care institutions to expand their experience and knowledge.
Public Education Programs
We have limited staff available to attend public education programs, however we do our best to either use trainees or share educational materials when we are unavailable. You may attend a health fair or come across our educational materials at a health care provider’s office or health department. Additionally, our public educator builds partnerships with communities and organizations across the state to educate and share resources on the poison center and poison safety and prevention. We are involved in many state and local coalitions that address injury prevention and the overall health and wellness of Marylanders.
Train the Trainer
Due to the limitations of our staff size and schedule, we created a train the trainer program that allows for members of communities and organizations to learn about the poison center and how to educate others on poison safety and prevention. We have hundreds of trainees around the state that assist us in sharing information and educating Marylanders.
Not only do we deliver in-person trainings and programs, but we also deliver webinars to the public and other communities and organizations. This allows us to reach more Marylanders with important information and resources from the MPC. Stay tuned for the posting of our webinars on our website.
As part of our mission to educate the public to prevent poisonings and keep everyone poison-safe, we use various forms of communication to share information. Our website has numerous resources available by download or ordering printed materials. Educational videos are available for people of all ages to learn about the MPC and poison safety. We have a bi-monthly newsletter that you can sign up to have sent straight to your email that also includes other updates and important news. The best way to keep the most up to date with the MPC and our safety & prevention tips is to follow us on social media.
We hope you learned more about the various services and activities here at the MPC. Our small but mighty team strives to meet our mission of reducing the cost and complexity of poisonings overdoses, while also education to prevent them from happening. As always, our poison experts are available 24/7 by calling 1-800-222-1222.