Pursuing Patient Care
Touro College of Pharmacy Alumna Rivka Katz, PharmD, Finds Satisfaction in Clinical Pharmacy
A proud member of Touro College of Pharmacy’s first graduating class, Dr. Rivka Katz, ‘12 enjoys making a difference in patients’ lives through work as a clinical pharmacy specialist.
How did you become interested in a career in pharmacy?
I always knew that I liked science and interacting with patients. I was inspired in part by my older sisters, both of whom are nurses by profession and have rewarding careers. At the same time, I knew that I preferred not to be as involved in day to day patient care to the same extent. Pharmacy appealed as an exciting career path that suited my personality and desire to pursue patient care. Pharmacy provides endless opportunities to make a difference in patients’ lives in unique ways.
Why did you choose Touro?
I attended Touro for undergrad and realized how much I appreciate Touro’s smaller class sizes, and the personal attention students receive from faculty, administration and advisors. I also liked that the Jewish holidays were built into the semester schedules. When I found out that Touro would be opening a pharmacy school, I reached out to the founding dean, and four years later was a proud member of the first graduating class.
What is your current position and can you describe a day in your life on the job?
I currently work as a clinical pharmacy specialist in hepatology at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. My main role involves managing patients taking hepatitis B and C medications in our ambulatory care clinics. I help patients prepare for treatment, including educating them about therapy, and I provide mid-therapy management and post-therapy follow up. I collaborate with hepatologists in treating patients, and I adjust therapy and order lab work as needed. I also work closely with our specialty pharmacy teams to ensure patients can access these high cost medications.
What are some of the challenges and what do you like about it?
What I like about pharmacy is that it is a fascinating field. There is constantly new data that is published and novel medications on the market. I enjoy using my mind to configure patient plans and make a difference in the lives of others. There are challenges. The patient population that I work with sometimes calls for some hand-holding and follow up. For example, a patient may not always be compliant when it comes to adhering to their medication schedule and completing lab work. This can present difficulties when trying to ensure a patient remains on therapy without interruption. Also, maintaining a work-life balance is challenging., I am not available to patients in the late afternoon because of family responsibilities, and there are mornings when I am not able to spend time with my children because I leave for work early. On occasion I am able to attend virtual and local conferences; however because of family obligations I am not able to travel to national conferences, which I found exciting when I was beginning my career.
How did TCOP prepare you for your professional role?
My training at TCOP largely focused on public health and I discovered that I wanted to seek opportunities to help the underserved. The didactic courses, clinical rotations and organizational involvement provided me with the foundational skills to pursue residency, which was the first step in my career after pharmacy school. Also, at TCOP, the faculty and administration knew me by name and worked closely with me to help me reach my career goals at the early stages.