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 one of our specialists: Stephanie Jackson.
Why did you go into the field of pharmacy?
I went into the field of pharmacy because I love health care and I wanted to do something that required an advanced education degree. Through my own research, I decided that I wasn’t interested in medical or nursing school. I then decided that pharmacy might be a good career path for me. I took a job to become a pharmacy tech to make sure it was something I could make a career out of. I decided I loved it and went to pharmacy school to become a pharmacist.
How did you end up working at the poison center?
I was an inpatient pharmacist at a hospital and worked with someone else who mentioned there was a job opening at the Poison Center. We talked about what a Specialist in Poison Information (SPI) does on a day-to-day basis. I figured it was a good fit for me to further my skills. I was really looking forward to learning more about emergency medicine while still using my clinical skills as a SPI.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
The thing I enjoy most is that every day is different! And every call is different. Anything can happen on any given day. It really never gets boring here.
Why are Poison Centers and poison specialists like you important?
Anything can be a poison. But not all poisons are common knowledge! The Poison Center is a resource that is easily accessible to everyone, no matter what time of day. We have the knowledge and skill set help when people call and don’t know what to do.
What’s an important message you want to share about poison safety?
One thing I’d like to share is encouraging people to have more open conversations with health care professionals about their medicines. Be an advocate for yourself and your health. Ask your health care provider before you make changes to the dose of a medicine to make sure you do it safely. Also talk to your health care provider before taking a new medicine, even if it’s over-the-counter or a dietary supplement! Medicines can interact with each other and cause unwanted side effects.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Outside of work I love spending time with my family! Crocheting is very relaxing hobby that I do. On my days off I love to cook and read.