Ipswich Hospital shines a light on operating department practitioner role

Ipswich Hospital staff celebrate operating department practitioner day. Picture: CHRIS BRAMMER

Ipswich Hospital staff celebrate operating department practitioner day. Picture: CHRIS BRAMMER - Credit: CHRIS BRAMMER

The vital role played by operating department practitioners (ODP) is being highlighted by Ipswich Hospital in a bid to encourage more people to enter the profession.

The trust is working closely with the University of Suffolk to raise awareness of the lesser-known job and the training which is available in the county.

The call ties in with national ODP day, which takes place today (May 14) and aims to celebrate the contribution made by ODPs to frontline patient care.

ODPs work across three areas – anaesthetics, surgery and recovery. Their duties include helping prepare patients for their operation, working as part of the surgical team and supporting and monitoring patients during their recovery.

To qualify, students must complete a three-year degree, which is made up of four-week blocks of classroom learning followed by eight to 10 week long practical placements gaining hands-on experience in the operating department.

Ipswich Hospital currently employs around 50 ODPs working across 19 operating theatres. Among them is Tracy McGuire, who specialises in gynaecology and obstetrics and works in the Blyth Theatres while also acting as a mentor for student ODPs.

Ms McGuire has spoken of her love for the job.

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“My family has personal experience of having surgery, and every time the staff made them feel like they were the only patient in the room,” she said.

“That was the reason I wanted to do this job – every patient is someone’s mum, dad, brother or sister, and the way they are treated can make such a huge difference to their experience at what can be a worrying time.

“ODPs are a really important part of the surgical team, and play a role in not just reassuring patients but also putting their relatives at ease as well.

“By making the patient’s experience as good as it possibly can be, we can also hopefully help to reduce any anxiety they may feel if they need to come in for another operation in the future.”

To find out more about ODP roles at Ipswich Hospital, email Romilly O’Driscoll.

For further information on course available at the university, visit: www.uos.ac.uk/courses/ug/bsc-operating-department-practice