Name: James Brennan
Course: MSc in Health Informatics
College: Department of Computer Science and Information (University of Limerick)
Back in the days before the Celtic Tiger when UL was NIHE Limerick, Ireland was poor, and many graduates emigrated. I duly ended up in London as a Management Accountant, having spent four enjoyable years from 1981 to 1985 in Plassey studying for a BBS (Accounting and Finance).
At that time the Internet, e-mail, broadband and the mobile phone had yet to see the light of day, and Health Informatics was quaintly known as 'Computers in Medicine'.
My career brought me back to Ireland as a partner in a firm of Accountants and Management Consultants, and most of my work in the last twenty years has been in ICT projects in the healthcare sector. I have kept abreast of professional developments in the area of Health Informatics over that period, but I felt that there was no specific course in Ireland which addressed my particular niche until 2009, when I joined the new MSc course in Health Informatics in UL.
The course was organised into 10 blocks (Friday and Saturday) over two terms and a dissertation over the summer, which suited the class, who came from all over Ireland and all of whom work full-time. We learned a great deal from each-other by working together in groups, both on campus and by distance, as distance learning was a key feature of the course.
The course content was a good balance of ICT and healthcare, and is very relevant and topical for anybody involved in ICT projects in healthcare, especially from the clinical and nursing areas. The academic staff were excellent and very supportive, especially for the dissertation, which in my case involved a fact-finding mission in Europe. The campus has improved beyond recognition, and the facilities were excellent, especially the library and the remote ICT services, such as Moodle.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the course, and it was a coincidence that I returned to my Alma Mater, as I would have travelled anywhere in Ireland for this particular course.