1) Tell me your history with poison control and how you became a SPI.
I have only worked at Poison Control since this past September. My background is in school nursing for the most part and it is
policy there to contact poison control for any exposure to a potentially toxic substance that a student or teacher has been exposed to. The thing that I enjoy most about this job is learning practical information about substances that I can help people with (this also satisfies my need to be a smarty pants). I learned about the job when my fiancé stated that she and her sister had a friend who were always talking about how awesome the job is.
2) I’m sure you hear a lot of interesting stories when answering calls, but what is one story that sticks out in your head that might have been scary but turned out funny and/or everything worked out after the call.
I once received a call where a teacher had been smearing glow stick fluids all over her face while giving her students a lectureover toxic chemicals. I guess this is so they would remember the subject matter. She stated that she got some of the fluid in her eye and that now her face was burning. She stated she irrigated her eye earlier. I recommended washing her face with soap and water. I assume that everything worked out okay after this call because she didn’t call back complaining of worsening symptoms. I thought the call was ironic for many reasons. She read on the label that the substance was non-toxic, she was talking about toxic chemicals. Then she called Poison Control because when her face started burning she second guessed herself on the toxicity. And why would you rub it on your face if you were not 100% certain. Plus just weird.
3) What do you think people need to know about the people who answer the phones for poison control?
We give advice according to the amount of information we are given. The more descriptive they can be with the situation the more we will be able to help.
4) What do you enjoy most about your job and why?
I enjoy learning. Everyday there is something new to learn and all of the people that I work with are great resources with a vast amount of knowledge.
5) Why do you think it is important for people to have poison control as a resource for emergency help?
It is important for people to have poison control as a resource for emergency help because a lot of exposures do not require a medical professional to observe. These exposures when taken to the Emergency Department (ED) of the hospital are expensive for the person who was exposed, and make take up a spot in the ED that can be used for true medical emergency.