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A Day in the Life of an Operating Department Practitioner

If you're considering a career in the operating theatre, the role of Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) may be the perfect choice. Find out what a day in the life of a ODP is like from one of our alumnus, Thomas Ranson. 

As an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) no two days are ever the same. My day begins early, where upon arrival I check the theatre allocation board to see which Operating Theatre and its associated speciality that I will work in for that day. Such specialities may include, to name but a few; ENT, General Surgery, Maxio-Facial, Paediatrics, Obstetrics, Orthopaedics and Emergency Trauma.

As an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) no two days are ever the same.

As an ODP, I may be required to work in any of the three areas encompassed within a patient’s perioperative care including ‘postoperative recovery’ and the ‘scrub role’. However, I commonly work as an anaesthetic practitioner working alongside an anaesthetist ensuring patient safety and wellbeing throughout the anaesthetic phase of their perioperative care.

My day commences with systematically checking the anaesthetic machines within the anaesthetic room and the operating theatre. I perform a series of technical checks to ensure that the machines are fully operational and utilise my skills and knowledge to rectify any deviations from functional operation that may be present.

Once satisfied, I check my anaesthetic room ensuring that a vast array of anaesthetic equipment, ancillary devices and anaesthetic pharmacology are readily to hand. As a patient’s professional advocate, it is my responsibility to ensure that the anaesthetic room is suitably stocked and prepared for any eventuality that may arise during a patient's anaesthetic and surgical intervention.

...it is my responsibility to ensure that the anaesthetic room is suitably stocked and prepared for any eventuality that may arise during a patient's anaesthetic and surgical intervention.

Once I am confident that my environment is safe and prepared I consult the operating list for that day so that I may ready myself for the anaesthetic procedures that are to take place, such as general anaesthesia, regional anaesthesia and inter-operative Sedation. Drawing upon knowledge and experience, I select suitable airway devices and any ancillary equipment that may be required, including syringe drivers, invasive monitoring equipment and specific devices for paediatric anaesthesia and any anticipated difficult airways.

Following a team brief, I bring the patient to the anaesthetic room where I attach suitable monitoring and insert an IV cannula in preparation for anaesthesia. As an ODP, I am fully proficient in airway management and work closely with the anaesthetist throughout induction of anaesthesia. Upon securing a patient airway I assist with the transfer of the patient into the operating theatre in readiness for their surgical intervention.

During this period, it is my responsibility to ensure patient safety and draw attention to the anaesthetist of any deviations from physiological parameters that may be indicated via the anaesthetic monitoring. Upon conclusion of surgery, I closely assist the anaesthetist with airway management during patient extubation and ensure all equipment and monitoring is readily available for patient transfer to the Post Anaesthetic Care Unit.

During this period, it is my responsibility to ensure patient safety and draw attention to the anaesthetist of any deviations from physiological parameters that may be indicated via the anaesthetic monitoring.

Although predominantly based in the operating theatre, ODP’s are often called upon to assist with patient transfers to and from the high dependency Unit, CT Imaging, and A&E Resus. In addition, if required to work a night duty, I can be called upon to assist with emergency intubations and at cardiac arrests throughout all areas of the hospital, so as an ODP, truly no two shifts are the same. 

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Last edited: 13/02/2017 12:36:00