A Scientifically Computed NHS

Learning by doing

Before starting my placement whenever I wished to learn a new programming language my first instinct would be to attempt completing some sort of online course; however, this would typically become a tedious practice. Whereas, whilst working for the NHS I attempted to learn by “doing” and figured out that this is the most effective learning process, as it has a superior motivating factor. Interestingly after a quick google search on the “most effective way of learning a programming language” the first result showed exactly what was just entailed.

Current Projects

I have been a part of various truly exciting and insightful projects; the following is a list of them with a brief explanation:

Web Apps (JavaScript + Ext API + MySQL + PHP):

  • Drug Stock App
    • This was the first web app I made. In short, it is used to keep track of drug stock relating to the Nuclear Medicine department – whilst also including a series of intuitive features. It is currently in use by the Nuclear Medicine Department. 
  • Calibrator QC
    • This was a web app that had been previously developed by an industrial placement student. It served to measure the efficacy of a radiation measuring device used in radioactive supplements. Although it had a list of improvements to be implemented. All the additional features were added. It also relates to the Nuclear Medicine department. 
  • Pay Progression
    • This was a web app requested by the trusts’ payroll team due to new regulations introduced by the government relating to anyone that is reaching a pay affecting increment. This was finished recently. 

Research Projects:

  • A report on alternatives to the RDP protocol for the trust to use on their different sites due to firewall restrictions and how to implement them. 
    • After completing the report, I was asked to attempt to test my hypothesis on a virtual Windows machine, this is one of my current endeavours. 

Java Based Projects:

  • I was asked to make some modifications on the existent code for a Pseudonymizer that anonymized DICOM files (medical images) located in the trust’s different sites. This program was written by a previous industrial placement student in Java and is still a work in progress.

Personal Projects

During my free time at work – when I have completed all available tasks of course. I tend to focus on Artificial Intelligence related projects or discuss interesting ideas with my colleague. For example, in terms of AI, during work time I developed a system that predicted whether an image was blurry or not (using the variance of the Laplacian of Gaussian if you would like to read more on it).

Is a placement year worthwhile?

I can confidently endorse everyone to do a placement year, or at least try to pursue one. Interestingly I got accepted to this placement towards the beginning of April, so only 6 months before my final year of University was predicted to start. I hope this serves to show that it is never too late.

Additionally, I would like to advise anyone interested in pursuing Computer Science related jobs to strongly consider the NHS or more specifically St Luke’s Cancer Centre at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. As they offer everything and more than anyone could ask for. I would like to thank all of the NHS team for always being so welcoming and inclusive at every step of my journey.