Operating department practitioners (ODPs) support operating theatre staff and provide care to patients at all stages of an operation.
Salary range: £24,214 to £30,112
How to become an operating department practitioner
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
You’ll need to study a two-year diploma of higher education or three-year degree in operating department practice approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You can top up your diploma to a degree after qualifying if you want.
You’ll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in the health or care sector before you apply for a course.
You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.
As well as a student loan, you may be eligible for the NHS Learning Support Fund, which helps with hardship, travel and childcare costs.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You can get into this role through a degree apprenticeship as an operating department practitioner.
Employers will set their own entry requirements.
- you’ll need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council
Health Careers has further details about this career and training options.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of medicine and dentistry
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- sensitivity and understanding
- to be flexible and open to change
- customer service skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties could include:
- preparing the operating theatre and equipment
- making sure specialist equipment is available for specific procedures
- monitoring theatre cleanliness
- ordering and rotating items of stock and drugs
- providing the surgical team with the items they need during an operation
- monitoring instruments
- keeping accurate records
You could work in an NHS or private hospital.
Your working environment may be hot and physically and emotionally demanding.
You may need to wear a uniform.
Career path and progression
With experience, you may be able to progress to team leader or senior ODP and manage an operating theatre unit.
You could also move into education, training and research.
Some ODPs take further training approved by the Royal College of Surgeons to work as surgical care practitioners.