A key member of the team in the operating department, the Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) is responsible for the smooth and safe running of an operation for patients, their loved ones, and the wider clinical team.
An ODP will be present and involved with every stage of operation. They will relax and ensure a patient is comfortable and assist the anaesthesiologist in maintaining patient safety. During surgery, an ODP will pass instruments to the surgeon and ensure none are left inside a patient. An ODP is also present for patient recovery, providing appropriate treatment through this time until a patient has fully recovered from anaesthesia and is ready to be discharged back to the ward.
An ODP (Operating Department Practitioner) is not a nurse. They will work alongside nurses in the operating department and as well as surgeons, anaesthesiologists, physician associates and other allied health professionals. As part of the wider clinical team involved in surgery, the ODP is central to the smooth running of surgery from start to finish.
The ODP is a relatively new role to the UK and Welsh healthcare scene and as such, those in the role are defining the scope and nature of it. Whilst a Nurse is an accountable role, with a representative body accountable to the patient, the ODP’s role is to support the surgeon and is therefore accountable to them. In practice this will mean that an ODP will be heavily involved in ensuring patient comfort and safety, alongside the rest of the clinical team in the operating department.
An ODP (Operating Department Practitioner) is not a medical Doctor but is a key part of the allied clinical team within an operating department. An ODP will work alongside surgeons, anaesthesiologists, physician associates, nurses, and other allied health professionals.
The role of the ODP is paramount to the smooth running of an operating department, maintaining patient safety, comfort, and confidence from the beginning to the end of the process.
Within the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Science we also offer Graduate Entry Medicine, for those with a degree who wish to train to be a doctor, and this could well be a route of interest to an ODP at a later point in their career.
What can I expect studying to be an Operating Department Practitioner?
At Swansea University we have over 25 years’ experience of training generations of nurses, doctors, physician associates and other roles which make up the allied clinical team. By choosing to study Operating Department Practitioner BSc with us you will be joining a highly experienced team of practicing clinicians and teaching staff who will be preparing you for your career.
Training to be an ODP requires a 3 year is BSc qualification. Find out more details about the course content and how you will be taught at our Operating Department Practitioner BSc Course page.
To be a qualified ODP, you will need to complete a BSc Operating Department Practitioner programme. You will need to have A levels, Access to HE, or BTEC Qualifications and GCSEs to be considered for our ODP programme. A full breakdown of our entry requirements can be found at our Operating Department Practitioners BSc Course page.
What careers could be open to me when I graduate?
On graduation you will become a qualified Operating Department Practitioner which will open the door to a variety of surgical settings of an Operating Department Practitioner including surgery, A&E and ICU to name a few.
Below you will find a more information about your potential career as an Operating Department Practitioner, from qualification, pay and career development.
An Operating Department Practitioner is a very rewarding role for anyone with an interest in patient care, surgery, and is a team player. If you are someone who likes to play your part as a member of a team and care about people, this role is perfect for you. Being operated on can be a very anxious time for a patient, knowing that there is someone there to support you through every stage of the process is what will make this role enriching and present you with diverse challenges and emotions through-out your career.
An ODP will be contracted to 37.5 hours a week. They will work shifts and cover evenings and weekends. In some instances, an ODP will be on an on-call rota and like many NHS roles, overtime may sometimes be necessary depending on demand on the service or department.
The starting salary for an ODP on a Band 5 role is £24,907.On average this means an ODP is paid around £32,000 per year. More experienced ODPs can apply for Band 6 roles with a starting salary of £31,365*.
*These figures were accurate at the time of publish in January 2022
An ODP will work in a variety of different departments including A&E, Intensive Care and within an Operating Department.
A surgeon is a medical Doctor and as such for an ODP to become a surgeon they would need to undertake further training such as Graduate Entry Medicine. At Swansea University we would always encourage students to follow their passions and would welcome applicants from ODPs to our Medicine course, once they have a degree and have gained experience in the role. We do however stress that our Operating Department Practitioners BSc is not a formal route to Medicine, and we are looking for applicants passionate about the role and wanting to make a difference to patient care in an operating setting.
Fully Funded Degree
Choosing to follow your passion for healthcare could pay. This range of degrees is fully funded via the NHS Wales Bursary Scheme.
What this could mean for you is, if you commit to working for NHS Wales for a period after you graduate your tuition will be fully covered by the NHS Wales Bursary, as well as maintenance funding of up to £4,491 and a reduced rate loan from Student Finance.Find out about the NHS Wales Bursary Scheme
Want to know more?
We have so much more we want to share with you, why not explore our Operating Department Practitioner course page or book on to our next open day.
Want to find out More about Swansea
Feeling inspired to train for a career in the NHS? Take the time to explore our campus from the comfort of your own home using our virtual tour, talk to some of our current students about what it is like studying at Swansea and make sure you register for our next Open Day where you can experience Swansea, our community and our courses in person.