11 May 2023

Celebrating our operating department practitioners

Members of the operating department practitioner student cohort

To celebrate Operating Department Practitioners (OPD) Day on 14 May our ODP team have a stand in reception at Eastbourne District General Hospital until next Monday (15 May) for colleagues and patients to find out more about what an ODP does and how important they are to patient care.

Over the years the role of an operating department practitioner has had many other names, but they have always played a huge role in our operating theatres running efficiently and ensuring the patient journey is as smooth and safe as possible. ODPs are involved during anaesthetic, surgery, recovery and discharge, preparing the environment and all of the necessary instruments and equipment.

We spoke to the team about ODPs and why they should be celebrated.

Paul Hawkins is the Deputy Team Lead for Anaesthetics. He says: “ODPs work across anaesthetics, surgery and recovery, and work across the trust. There are currently between 35 and 40 of us, including agency staff.

“Our role now makes up one of the 15 allied health professions as defined by NHS England, which means we are professionally autonomous practitioners who hold a protected title.

“Training for the role has changed drastically from when I first started and now requires a three-year degree. Within the team we have a huge emphasis on teaching and have several students, at various points in their study, working with us.”

Shannen Blackman, a second-year student, describes an ODP as, “a vital part of the theatre team, working in three main areas (anaesthetics, surgery and recovery). ODPs provide skilled and individualised care for the patient throughout their surgical pathway.”

National ODP Day stand in the main foyer at Eastbourne District General Hospital

Julie Booth, an ODP who is the anaesthetic teams matron, wouldn’t change anything about her role. “I wanted a challenging and exciting career looking after patients,” she says. “After 33 years I still love my job and the different characters that I meet every day. It is a challenging and complex role, but every day is different. I received an award for outstanding patient care and I was so proud to be acknowledged by the trust.”

Kirsty Mills is a first-year student within the team. She says, “It’s the best job and not enough people have heard of it! I had a brilliant experience with an ODP when I was a patient, and I felt inspired to support other patients the way she did for me. A patient’s journey through hospital can be stressful and worrying. If I can help to alleviate some of those concerns for someone, I’ve done my job well.”

More information on the role of operating department practitioner can be found on the Health Careers website.

Staff members pictured in the photo of the ODP student cohort are: Back row L-R Kirsty Mills, Lisa Black, Vivienne Claridge, Shannen Blackman, Hannah Thomas and Martin Heseldene. Front row L-R Amy Snodin and Ebony Winter.