Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) are often the unsung heroes of operating theatres.
Saturday, May 14 is National ODP Day and is a chance to profile some of these incredible people and the vital work they do every day.
ODP work spans three main areas of theatre:
- Anaesthetics – working closely with the anaesthetist and when patients are at their most vulnerable.
- Scrub – working with the surgeons and other theatre practitioners to ensure all surgical equipment is available and sterility is maintained.
- Recovery – including many skills from airway management to pain relief.
The theme of this year’s National ODP Day is ‘Inspiring the Next Generation’ so this year we are profiling just a few of our degree apprentices who are currently training to become fully-fledged ODPs.
Peter Murphy, Director of Nursing, Midwifery, AHPs and Quality at the Trust, said: “It’s important we acknowledge and celebrate the fantastic work our operating department practitioners do for the Trust.
“They are a vital part of the MDT that keeps our theatres running and they have risen to the challenge of supporting the organisation in its COVID recovery plans ensuring our patients receive the care and treatment they need whilst undergoing their procedure.
“I’m also delighted to see our ODP workforce starting to explore career opportunities in other areas of the Trust, be that critical care or in other wards and departments. Given the theme of this year’s ODP day it’s great to hear from Harry, Sam, Tammy and Richard who are some of the Trust’s ODP degree apprentices, I hope their words of wisdom will inspire more people to follow in their footsteps.”
Student ODP Harry Ferguson is hoping to work as an ODP at Blackpool Victoria Hospital when he completes his course.
He said he has learned a variety of skills from airway management to infusion equipment, different scrub specialities and recovery.
His message to people considering training as an ODP is: “Before applying do lots of research of what the course entails, as there is placement and university to consider as part of the process.”
Meanwhile, during his apprenticeship, Sam Martin is hoping to gain experience in anaesthetics and branch out into the scrub role when he is proficient.
He said: “I have enjoyed expanding my clinical knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of the role. The ODP role is an exciting and rewarding one. There are more and more pathways opening up for ODPs and it offers great progression of both skill and role.”
Colleague Tammy Clemson is hoping to secure employment in anaesthetics and scrub in General Theatres when she completes her course.
She said she has enjoyed the opportunities her course has given her, from working in different areas of the Trust to receiving lots of support from colleagues, learning new skills and understanding the toles of the multidisciplinary team she is part of.
Her message to those thinking of training to be an ODP is: “Make sure you understand the role before you start and embrace the opportunities throughout your training. Always reflect on what you’re learning, take lots of notes and get good at time management.”
She added: “Make sure you keep up-to-date as much as possible with your university work and competencies and always ask for help when you need it.”
Finally Richard Taylor is hoping his time as a degree apprentice will help him gain further knowledge and skills, switching roles once he has gained experience within anaesthetics and recovery.
He has enjoyed taking on new challenges and learning new skills around a variety of subjects.
He said: “Expect challenging yet enjoyable days. You will be surprised by the development of the profession and the opportunities on offer to ODPs.”
Gavin Leeming is Practice Development Nurse of Theatres and Placement Educator Lead ODP at the Trust. He is supporting BTH’s degree apprentices as they complete their course.
He said: “ODPs work to care for patients at some of the most vulnerable times in their lives, as they are about to undergo surgery.
“Their training is intense because it needs to be – they’ll work with anaesthetists and surgeons during complex operations – then help patients recover.
“The work is very rewarding though, with no two days the same and plenty of opportunity for personal development. The ODP profession is constantly changing and it’s a fantastic career to pursue. I’d encourage anyone to look into the role and the opportunities it can provide.”
Nick Lane, Chief AHP (Allied Health Professions) at the Trust, added “Our ODP workforce is an incredibly important part of our AHP family. Following the theme of inspiring the next generation the Trust will be advertising for another crop of ODP apprentices in the next few weeks as we prepare for the next apprentice intake in September 2022.
“I’d encourage anyone who has read this and feels inspired to become an ODP to get in touch and learn more.”