Responsibilities of An Operating Department Practitioner

07/11/2022

In April 2021, around 4.7 million people were waiting for routine operations in England. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic played a huge role in this, with 388,000 people waiting for non-urgent surgery since the pandemic began. A number that had risen from just 1,600 before the start of the pandemic.  

Besides this causing a significant surge in demand in the UK health industry, it also provides great employment opportunities for graduates looking to emerge in a challenging yet rewarding healthcare sector. With an operating department practice degree from the University of Bolton, we will teach you how no two days in this profession are the same. Our dynamic and multi-disciplinary course will prepare you with the knowledge to manage care for patients who are scheduled for routine operations, as well as how to respond to life-threatening emergencies. 

Clinical Simulation Suite at BoltonWhat is an Operating Department Practitioner?  

When considering how most of an operating department practitioner's time is spent, a lot of it involves working in an operating theatre alongside other medical professionals such as surgeons, anaesthetists, theatre nurses, healthcare assistants, theatre support workers, and porters.   

As an essential member of the operating department team, the ODP is in charge of ensuring that an operation is carried out in a way that is safe and efficient for not only patients, but also the people who are close to them, and the rest of the clinical staff.  

An ODP also plays an important role in the patient’s welfare after surgery. This includes providing appropriate post-anaesthetic care that continues until the patient fully recovers from the anaesthesia and is ready to be discharged. 

Interested in finding out more about the role of an ODP? Let’s explore their responsibilities further in the anaesthetic, surgery, and recovery stages of a patient's surgical journey. Find out how a BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice degree can teach you the skills to be able to provide a high standard of patient care as a registered operating department practitioner.  
   
Before Surgery - Anaesthetic  

The role of an ODP before surgery is arguably one of their most important responsibilities. This is because it involves preparing the anaesthetic equipment and ensuring that it will be safe to use during surgery. On a typical day, duties can include washing and shaving the surgical site, applying dressings and monitoring patients' vital signs. 

In addition to this, an ODP would also take the time before surgery to mentally prepare patients for the operation.  

During Surgery  

Ever wonder what goes on in the background during an operation? After completing their duties of ensuring the operating theatre is ready for surgery, the ODP would then be supporting the surgeon during the operation. Typical duties could include monitoring the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure. An ODP may also be needed to take blood or tissue samples for analysis during the surgery or be responsible for giving the patient oxygen to aid their breathing both during and after the operation.  
 
Recovery & Post-Anaesthesia  

The first few hours after surgery are critical for patients. The ODP is directly responsible for monitoring patients and keeping a close eye on any dressings or tubes that were inserted during surgery. If any complications arise, it will be the job of the ODP to alert the medical team so that they can take appropriate action. 

At the full recovery stage when patients are ready to be discharged from hospital, the ODP also has the role of giving instructions on how to best take care of themselves at home. This can include information on wound care or any take-home medication, as well as providing them with an appropriate contact number should they have any concerns. 

Clinical Simulation Suite at Bolton
BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice at the University of Bolton  

Our BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice course at the University of Bolton maintains a balance between a surgery's technical and scientific components and the soft skills that enhance communication, wellbeing, and patient care. Our students have access to state-of-the-art facilities such as our £31 million Bolton One building that includes industry-spec Clinical Simulation Suites; giving them the practical learning experience they need to prepare for a hands-on career in the health industry.  

The course is designed to prepare our students to demonstrate the confidence, compassion, competence, and effective judgement that is required of a registered ODP. A large part of our students' studies is focused on enduring a clinical placement at one of our partner NHS Trusts, where you will discover the reality of being an ODP; helping you to develop the team-working, leadership, and management skills that will be an essential part of your training. This also complements our student’s academic studies as the supportive learning environment and quality teaching we are proud to provide ensures that they gain exposure to the extensive industry experience of our passionate lecturers.  

Want to find out more? Look at our full course details and find out how you can start your career journey with a BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice degree

You can also get the answers to any of your questions about life at Bolton by contacting our award-winning Students Services Team at enquiries@bolton.ac.uk or calling us on 01204 903807. 

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