Written by: Emily Paterson, Public Education and Communication Specialist
This post originally appeared on the Maryland Poison Center’s blog, eAntidote.
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. The MPC is located within the Department of Practice, Sciences, and Health Outcomes Research (P-SHOR) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. In addition to being nurses and pharmacists, these experts are parents, grandparents, artists, athletes, sports fans, and more! Read the Q&A below to get to know our toxicology fellow: Masha Yemets.
Why did you go into the field of pharmacy?
Since I was in middle school, I knew I wanted to be in the medical field. I searched the internet for a list of health care professions and stumbled across a basic description of pharmacy, and it sounded interesting. I think learning about the effects of drugs on people, and people’s effects on drugs is fascinating. Also, the field of pharmacy has different pathways and various ways I can help others.
How did you end up working at the poison center?
During pharmacy school we learned about poison centers, but only a very small amount. We had to have shadowing hours, and I got to shadow a Certified Specialist in Poison Information (CSPI) at the Arkansas Poison Center. It was only for a few hours, but it was just enough to pique my interest. Then I took a toxicology elective to learn more about patient care and how poison centers work. Luckily, I got a 4th year rotation position at the poison center. Afterwards, I was hired as a student pharmacist at the Arkansas Poison Center. I wanted to continue my education and expand my knowledge of toxicology, so I applied to the Maryland Poison Center’s toxicology fellowship.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy always being kept on my toes. You never know what the case will be on the other end of the phone. This is a really cool niche within the field of pharmacy that is not your typical everyday pharmacy work.
Why are poison centers and poison specialists like you important?
They do a lot of work in the background but can help a variety of people in the community as well as health care providers. Poison specialists are very good at giving people reassurance that things will be okay after a poisoning happens, especially when it involves kids.
What’s an important message you want to share about poison safety?
Kids move fast so make sure their environment is safe from poisons. Keep things stored up, away, and out of sight. Also, know that you can always call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222. We are open 24/7/365 and calling is free and confidential.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
When I’m not working, I enjoy hanging out with my wolf dogs. I also enjoy going to Phish concerts and eating my favorite dessert: cheesecake.