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, they are parents, grandparents, artists, athletes, sports fans, and more! Read the Q&A below to get to know one of our specialists: Noelle Etube.
Why did you go into the field of pharmacy?
I wanted to be able to help people and solve a problem that they had. I enjoy working with people in the public and learning what challenges they hope to overcome, then work together to help them reach those goals. In school I really enjoyed math and science classes, and working in pharmacy I can use the knowledge of both to help others.
How did you end up working at the poison center?
I worked in retail pharmacy for over 12 years and was able to master my knowledge in terms of management and experience working with the community. I was ready for a new challenge and saw the open position here at the poison center. I knew this is the direction I wanted my career to move in.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love being able to learn every single day. When new cases come in each day, I get to explore different substances and how to manage and treat exposures. I also get to share those cases with my team and learn together. I love how the team is so helpful and willing to share their knowledge with me and others.
Why are poison centers and poison specialists like you important?
We are important because mistakes happen, every day! Kids get into things no matter how “child-friendly” you make your home. As a mom of two small children, the role of poison centers has made me very aware of how easy it is for kids to get into things they aren’t supposed to!
What’s an important message you want to share about poison safety?
Detergent pods for laundry and dishwashers are common products that we get called about. They look like candy or toys to little kids since they are colorful and squishy. It’s best to use regular liquid detergents and store them up, away, and out of sight from children.
Also, always store household cleaning products and medicines in their original labeled containers. Do not use food or drink containers to store things as they can be easily mistaken for other products.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I enjoy spending time with my family. I have a two year old daughter and a ten month old son who bring so much joy to my life and keep things interesting! You can find us drawing with sidewalk chalk and taking walks around the neighborhood and at our local parks.