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Operating Department Practitioners Day

Operating Department Practitioners watch a procedure

14th May is Operating Department Practitioners (ODP) Day – a day to recognise our amazing ODPs across the hospital. But despite the role being such a rewarding one, it is likely many would never have heard of it. Read on to discover what the role entails, what a typical day looks like and how you can celebrate ODP day.

What is an Operating Department Practitioner?

The role of the ODP is one of the oldest healthcare professions with origins going back to the birth of modern surgery in the 18th Century. Despite this, it wasn’t until 2004 when professional registration was embraced with approximately 15,000 ODPs registered making it one of the smaller professional groups.

The modern-day role covers three main areas - Anaesthetics, Scrub and Recovery which see the ODP involved in all aspects of a patients journey through a theatre setting from anaesthetic induction (where you go off to sleep), surgical assistance to the care of a patient immediately after surgery, maintaining airway support, pain management and observations during the emergence phase of anaesthesia.

What does a typical day look like?

The day commences with a department huddle where information on the day’s activity is shared along with updates from around the hospital and the wider healthcare community. The theatre team perform safety checks on all equipment and ensure that the theatres are ready and set up safely for the day ahead.

Prior to operating a team briefing with the whole multidisciplinary team (anaesthetists, surgeons, nurses, radiographers, theatre support workers as an example - this listing certainly not comprehensive!) is held in the theatre, where each case is discussed.

The operating lists run all day, with case lengths varying from mere minutes to several hours. ODPs and the wider theatre teams are skilled at making best interest decisions for the patients and are exceptional patient advocates. No day is ever the same and so ODPs are very flexible in their approach to work. Debriefs are an important end to the operating list where staff have an opportunity to raise any concerns but also to celebrate the delivery of excellent care.

What do you like about being an ODP?

Rebecca Friend, Senior Theatre Practitioner says: “I am mainly an Anaesthetic ODP, so I help put our patients to sleep before their operation. We are there to help assist the Anaesthetist during the first stage of their surgery. In this stage, the Anaesthetists will tell me what it is that they want for the patient and then it is my job to plan ahead for all the things they will need to make that happen.

“A typical day for me at Benenden Hospital starts with me checking my anaesthetic machine and finding out what patients are having which surgery. Then I will prepare the things that I know we will need. At 8am we all attend a staff meeting; this gives us the time to raise any problems or concerns we have with our list.

“The next step is attending a briefing with all members of my team for that day. This is when we discuss every patient individually and find out their specific requirements, we may then change list orders due to clinical need. After that, we are ready to send for our first patient to start our day.”

Celebrate ODP Day

Are you an ODP yourself who is either qualified or training? Or are you another healthcare professional, a proud family member or a grateful patient? Whoever you are, you can support this essential group of clinical staff by ‘Inspiring the next generation’. Visit the Unison website to find out how.

If you are lucky enough to know any ODPs, then why not show you support by sharing a photo of them on social media along with the hashtag #ODPday!

Current vacancies

Would you like to learn more about our operating theatre department this ODP day? Or are you interested in joining our caring theatre staff team? Discover our medical facilities or browse the current Theatre Practitioner vacancies on our website.

Published on 14 May 2024