North East Essex out-of-hours
North East Essex out-of-hours

It's ODP Day!

May 14 2020


Charlie Howard, Operating Department Practitioner at Southampton Treatment Centre, got in touch to educate us on today’s ODP Day (14th May). Here she tells us what it means to be an ODP.

We’ve all heard of doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, physiotherapists, radiographers, and many other of the vast professions in healthcare. However, not many have heard of an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP), but, if you have ever spent time being treated in hospital, you’ve probably been looked after by one.

Whether wordlessly securing an airway with the anaesthetist, providing the surgeon with vital equipment before they have even asked for it, or closely monitoring vital signs and pain score in recovery, ODPs are critical in the patients’ journey through theatres.

In theatres, ODPs usually cover three areas: anaesthetics, scrub, and recovery. Each ODP may cover and practice in one, two or even all three of these once qualified. Having qualified nearly three years ago myself, I’ve been an orthopaedic scrub practitioner since day one of ODP life, but I cover other specialities such as general, gynaecology, dental, or wherever else my help is needed. We pride ourselves on being patient advocates, providing high-quality care, and supporting our teams throughout.

Over the years, the profession has grown extending its role to not just inside operating theatres but to ITU, A&E, resuscitation, endoscopy, research, and many other departments.

As of April 2017, ODPs officially became included under the Allied Health Professionals umbrella. This move opened up many doors for ODPs allowing more movement and integration across more areas of the NHS and private sector.

Becoming an ODP, in the early days, meant getting a City & Guilds qualification. Fast forward to today and becoming an ODP involves gaining a Higher Education Degree and maintaining the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration every year.

Many ODPs continue their training and education after qualification to develop new skills and competencies. In my department alone, we have numerous university accredited Surgical First Assistants to support surgeons at a higher level; student liaison officers who work closely with universities to uphold high standards of teaching with the students; and various levels of resuscitation staff (Advanced Life Support providers and teachers).

You might not know us by profession, nor recognise us amongst everybody else but you can guarantee we will be ready to care for patients with all the knowledge, empathy, and compassion required, and all with a smile on our faces. #LoveYourODP