If you’ve ever had surgery at the James Paget you will have had contact with our ODPs - Operating Department Practitioners - but you may not know much about them or what they do.
On National Operating Department Practioners Day we’re celebrating our ODPs and helping raise awareness of the role. As ODPs are always in demand, we’re also urging anyone looking for a career in healthcare to take a look at whether this might be the role for you.
ODPs have been working in the NHS for over 70 years and are now recognised as part of the Allied Health Professional (AHP) family. AHPs are highly trained health staff – including radiographers, physiotherapists, podiatrists and occupational therapists - who work alongside nurses and doctors to provide a range of specialist services.
As the only professional body for ODPs, the College of Operating Department Practitioners has established 14 May as a national day of recognition to show how crucial ODPs are in delivering patient care.
At the James Paget ODPs can be found primarily in our operating theatres but can work all over our hospital from Endoscopy to Maternity to Community Dental departments.
ODPs provide care for patients during the anaesthesia (pre-operative), surgical (intra-operative), and recovery (post-operative) phases and their role involves many clinical and co-ordination skills.
ODPs conduct pre-surgery checks and prepare the drugs and equipment needed for a patient to undergo anaesthesia, including ventilation equipment, intravenous drugs and fluids, and devices to facilitate breathing. They stay with you throughout your surgery and act as a link between the surgical team, theatre staff and the wider hospital.
During surgery they prepare sterile instruments and equipment and work closely with surgeons to ensure they have everything they need for each procedure and that all swabs and instruments are accounted for following surgery. They anticipate the requirements of the surgical team and respond effectively.
In recovery the ODP will check on the patient, monitor them and administer prescribed drugs or other procedures to allow a patient to fully recover from the effects of anaesthesia.
They also assist anaesthetists in emergency situations, and provide airway support to patients across different specialties.
Senior Operating Department Practitioner Theatre Manager Kelly Smith became an ODP coming from dental nursing while ODP Yasmin Pattrick first found out about the role while she herself was having surgery, but it now something they both enjoy.
Kelly says; “I started at the entry level but have now worked my way up to Theatre Manager so there are opportunities for career progression and we’d like more people to be aware of the role and what we do.
“We are crucial in every surgery at the hospital and ODPs balance good clinical and good organisational skills to try to ensure the best care for our patients throughout their surgery.”
Yasmin said; “We are a good team to be part of. While patients may only see and be aware of us for a few minutes before and after their surgery we are there through the process supporting our medical and nursing colleagues and we support each other too.”
You can find out more about becoming an ODP via the Health Careers website here - https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/allied-health-professionals/roles-allied-health-professions/operating-department-practitioner