Operating Department Practitioners, hidden no longer! Trust celebrates National ODP Day

Operating Department Practitioners, hidden no longer! Trust celebrates National ODP Day

National ODP Day is Tuesday 14 May. This year’s theme is #ODPHiddenNoLonger – The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust is bursting the perception of a hidden profession, and are proudly boasting about our Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs). Continue reading to meet Sean, one of our incredible ODPs, and to learn more about what he does.

Group photo of Trust ODP colleagues in Theatres

Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) are healthcare professionals who play a crucial role in the operating theatre, labour ward and resuscitation rooms at Rotherham Hospital. They work closely with other health workers, mainly surgeons and anaesthetists, to provide expert assistance. This ensures that surgical and anaesthetic procedures are carried out safely, and that our patients benefit from the best outcomes possible. Operating Department Practitioners can work as scrub, anaesthetic and recovery practitioners. 

They advocate for our patients through the perioperative process, which includes the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative phases, and during emergency situations.

During the preoperative stage, patients are readied for surgery. ODPs prepare all of the anaesthetic or surgical equipment for each patient, prepare attachments for patients who may be in different operating positions, and they are responsible for preparing the monitoring of the patients during their surgery. 

In the intraoperative stage, ODPs collaborate closely with the surgical team to offer essential aid and support. Their tasks may involve aiding the anaesthetist in administering anaesthesia, preparing and managing surgical tools, and continuously monitoring the patient's vital signs throughout the operation.

After the surgery is complete (postoperative phase), ODPs are responsible for recovering the patient and managing their airway postoperatively to make sure that the patient is fit to go back to the ward. 

Operating Department Practitioners have a unique skill set that is also transferrable to other areas of the hospital. ODPs are part of the cardiac arrest team, they do ambulance transfers for our patients if they need to be transferred to another hospital to for emergency care – to name a few. ODPs also work in labour ward assisting in epidurals and caesarean sections – emergency or elective. Operating Department Practitioners work 365 days a year, as their skill set is needed at all times. The ODPs were proudly at the front line during COVID-19 in emergency operations, and on the intensive care unit.


Sean’s story

Sean joined the Trust as an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) in September 2023, after completing his 3-year degree at Sheffield Hallam University. We caught up with him in-between surgeries, in the theatres at Rotherham Hospital. 

“I’m part of a team of around 25 ODPs, we work across all surgical specialties within the Trust. Whilst I was a student, all of my placements were at Rotherham Hospital, so when I started working here full-time in September of 2023 I already had a strong network of mentors and colleagues. My shifts are pretty standard, I work 8am until 6pm, but I also cover late shifts, 12noon until 9pm, and on call.”

Sean previously worked in quality assurance and manufacturing, but didn’t feel as though that was his calling. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he found himself furloughed from his job and at a crossroads. 

“I was 36 and it was almost a now or never moment, but it was definitely the right decision to retrain. I’m lucky I have a very forgiving wife! I think what I enjoy most is how much I have to use my brain. In my previous role, it could be quite repetitive and monotonous, whereas this is completely different. You have to have an innate understanding of a person’s physiology, you have to know how certain drugs will react when administered to certain types of people. You almost have to think ‘how can things go wrong?’ so you can prevent that situation from happening. ODPs also cover bleeps, so we can be required to attend cardiac bleeps for patients.”

Sean enjoys the practical and hands-on nature of the role, especially as a majority of the patients he sees are at the most vulnerable point of their care pathway. 

“I’m the first point of contact for a lot of our patients, as an ODP I advocate for them in that operating room.”

Operating Department Practitioners are one of 14 groups, under the umbrella of Allied Health Professionals (AHPs). As well as ODPs, the term AHP encompasses Art therapists, Dietitian, Diagnostic radiographers, Dramatherapists, Music therapists, Occupational therapists, Orthoptists, Orthotists, Osteopaths, Paramedics, Physiotherapists, Podiatrists, Prosthetists, Therapeutic radiographers, and Speech and Language Therapists. 

The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust employs over 500 AHP and AHP support workforce colleagues across 9 of these regulated professions – as a workforce they are dedicated to person centred care, and patient safety. 

Andy Brammer, Chief Allied Health Professional for the Trust, said: “Operating Department Practitioners work across three key areas of anaesthetics, surgery and recovery and play a vital role in ensuring the safe and effective delivery of care at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust. Their job role and responsibilities are wide-ranging and varied, and require a high level of skill, knowledge, and expertise. I really enjoyed meeting Sean and hearing first-hand how passionate he is about the role, and about being an advocate for our patients.”

Source URL: https://www.therotherhamft.nhs.uk/news/operating-department-practitioners-hidden-no-longer-trust-celebrates-national-odp-day

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