Poison Information Specialist – A Nursing Career

A poison information specialist is a qualified healthcare worker or nurse who provides information to patients, individuals, or medical professionals about poison treatment or prevention. Poison control specialists usually work in a poison control center, providing information and advice over the phone to people who are concerned if they have ingested something that they fear is dangerous. This might be a career that those looking into nursing don’t often think of, but there are 60 poison centers in the nation doing this valuable work, staffing poison help hotlines and providing important medical advice.

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To work as a poison control specialist, you will need the right qualifications. Some are licensed pharmacists or emergency care workers, and many are licensed or registered nurses who have the proper background training in poison treatment and prevention, and often have some experience working in critical care nursing or emergency room nursing. To become a registered nurse you will need to earn an associate degree in nursing or you can earn a bachelor’s degree in four years from an accredited school of nursing. Earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is generally preferred by hospitals and other employers, although with the many RN to BSN program options an associate degree can be viewed as a great stepping stone toward earning a BSN. Certification as a is an option in for poison information specialists, by passing the Poison Information Certification Examination, given by the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Nurses working this job can enjoy some great job flexibility, as poison control centers are open day and night. However, this job can also potentially require some unusual shift times, such as weekend, holiday, evening, or overnight shifts. Some qualifications that employers look for in these specialists encompasses more than pharmacology knowledge and medical terminology, although that is important. It is equally important to be able to calmly assist callers, to evaluate the information they are providing, to prioritize, and effectively and calmly communicate your instructions. According to simplyhird.com, the average salary for a poison information provider is $40,000, although this can vary depending on your credentials, employer, location, and can increase with greater experience and education. The demand for poison information specialists is likely to continue, as they are cost-effective and prevent many unnecessary emergency room visits.

The national poison control program does more than offer a call center. It also supports poison education and prevention, and monitors toxic exposure and collection systems for purposes of data collection. The single, national and toll-free number (800-222-1222) ensures access to these services, and provides help in 161 languages. This is an important service, and could be an exciting one to be a part of if you are interested and have the right qualifications. Find the right nursing program first, get your degree and work experience, then consider becoming a poison information specialist. People who were researching this nursing specialty also explored becoming a Toxicology Nurse.

(Sources: American Association of Poison Control Centers)