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Are you interested in becoming an Operating Department Practitioner? Below Heidi tell us her story and gives a real insight into the life of an ODP.

“I started at the Nuffield Health Ipswich Hospital in 2005 as a Healthcare Assistant. I first became interested in operating department practice (ODP) as a profession by talking to ODPs about what they did on a day-to-day basis. It intrigued me because there are so many different professional subjects you need to learn, covering both technical and caring skills.

Then one day, a colleague suggested I look into becoming an ODP. It seemed like the perfect career for me so I decided to apply for the diploma course. I was very fortunate that the Nuffield agreed to support me in my training by seconding me for two years.”

“After qualifying, I was lucky enough to obtain a job at Nuffield Health Ipswich Hospital, which was great as it allowed me to build my confidence in a safe and supportive environment that I had trained in. I started as a junior ODP in anaesthetics and assisted the anaesthetist in the planning and implementation of the patient’s care during surgery, for both adult and paediatric patients. I helped check the equipment was safe for use, anaesthetised patients and monitored them throughout their surgery, safely transferring them to recovery afterwards.

I then felt I needed to take my career to the next level and needed to expand my knowledge and skills. So I decided to apply for a position within the local NHS trust. This role allowed me to explore different specialties, including emergency, general, orthopaedics, trauma, and obstetrics theatres.

After completing 6 years at the local trust I was approached by a member of staff at the Nuffield Health about a possible position and would I be interested in applying? After gaining 6 years of NHS experience I felt I had grown in confidence and gained knowledge and was ready for a new challenge.

I have now been working for the Nuffield for the last 2 years and within this time I have extended my role to anaesthetic / recovery lead.”

“In my anaesthetic role I am the first person to meet a patient when they come to the operating department. You can build a rapport with the patient, safely prepare the anaesthetic equipment required and assist with administering anaesthetics. Alternatively, you could be working as part of the surgical team offering skilled assistance to the surgeons throughout the surgical procedure itself. In recovery you take charge of the patient’s recovery from anaesthesia and provide one-to-one care until they are ready to be transferred to the ward.”

“One thing that drew me to becoming an ODP was the career prospects. In my new senior lead role I am responsible for supporting junior staff, carrying out appraisals, problem solving and implementing new policies and procedures. My current role is a bit different to the normal ODP role, but it reflects the ever widening remit of the profession. Becoming an ODP has opened a lot of doors for me and I think the role will continue to develop and expand, both within theatres and the wider hospital community.

Making a difference to patient’s by working as an ODP is very rewarding – we could all be patients at some time in our lives. I am mindful of that when I undertake my clinical role or communicate with anxious and emotional patients. It helps me to empathise and understand their needs.

I love working at the Nuffield as the job is so varied. I never know what the day will bring. I enjoy being an active part of the team, where my input is valued, and I get to make a real difference to patient care.

Working for the Nuffield Health has inspired me to be the ODP I want to be. I enjoy getting up in the morning knowing that I will work with a team who are experts in their field.

Nuffield health as a company supports all staff in their training and development. It’s great to work for a company who is so passionate about the wellbeing of patients and I am proud to be a part of this.”

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