Operating Department Practice

BSc single honours Operating Department Practice

The Operating Department Practice programme enables students to become confident, capable practitioners who are competent to carry out complex activity in all areas of the Hospital Operating Department. This includes the assessment, planning and delivery of individualised care from admission to the department through to the immediate post-operative recovery unit.

The demands placed on Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) mean that the practitioner is required to take responsibility for managing all aspects of patient care within the operating department. Overall, ODPs are primarily concerned with supporting and assisting the care of the patient throughout the Perioperative stage of surgical intervention.

ODPs have a critical role within the operating theatre team and are involved with the maintenance and restoration of the physical and psychological status of the patient. This programme aims to provide students with the skills and knowledge to work effectively as an ODP within a team of health and social care professionals.

It is also intended to reflect current developments in health and social care, and education, in a manner that equips students with the knowledge, attitudes, graduate and profession-specific skills to meet the changing needs and agendas whether it is from a local, national or international context. In addition to being part of the interprofessional operating theatre team, ODPs work in other critical care areas, such as intensive care units, accident and emergency departments and delivery suites.

On successful completion of the Operating Department Practice programme, students would be eligible to apply for professional registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP).

The BSc (Hons) in Operating Department Practice is a three-year programme and is delivered as a pathway within the Pre-registration Interprofessional Learning Programme and students receive an Interprofessional learning approach throughout the programme.

In addition to studying at university, students are required to undertake clinical placements within the operating department. This is undertaken alongside qualified practitioners therefore enabling students to develop their knowledge and skills. This will always be under direct supervision. Clinical placements involve working shifts which may include weekends and nights, although these tend to be within the second year of studies. Overall, the programme comprises 50% theory and 50% practice and runs over 45 weeks per year.

Primarily within Year 1 of the programme, students are introduced to the concepts and principles that underpin Operating Department Practice. This includes an introduction to biological, sociological, psychological and behavioral concepts that will facilitate their development and understanding of the specialist needs of a patient throughout the Perioperative experience. It is therefore desirable for students to have studied aspects of these previously.

Years 2 and 3 of the programme are designed to allow students to extend their knowledge and practice skills by a wider participation in the Perioperative care of the patient. This enables them to develop both their academic and clinical skills for future clinical and professional practice.

Although ODPs are trained to work primarily within the operating department, they can advance on a promotional ladder to senior posts following self-development and experience over a period of time. This enables them to develop in a variety of care contexts; undertaking advanced clinical skill and critical care. It may also include assisting and acting as a scrubbed practitioner and developing professional leadership and management skills. Although additional education and training is required, these roles may include: non medically qualified anaesthetist (physician’s assistant anaesthesia), resuscitation training officer, surgical care practitioners, transplant teams, management, education, intensive therapy units, or accident and emergency.

Year 1 modules consist of:

  • Professional Development 1
  • Collaborative Practice 1
  • Introduction to Healthcare
  • Anaesthetics 1
  • Human Biology and Health
  • Surgery 1

Year 2 modules consist of:

  • Professional Development 2
  • Collaborative Practice 2
  • Pathophysiology for Operating Department Practice
  • Anaesthetics 2
  • Surgery 2
  • Immediate Postoperative Care

Year 3 modules consist of:

  • Professional Development 3
  • Collaborative Practice 3
  • Assisting with Surgical Intervention
  • Immediate Postoperative Care 2
  • Caring for the Seriously Ill Patient
  • Professional Leadership and Management

About half a student’s time is spent on clinical placement in an Operating Department where they experience a wide range of anaesthetic and surgical interventions. There are five placements each year that are usually four weeks each. When they are at University, students attend for about three or four days a week and the remaining time is for study. They have experience of lectures, seminars, group work and technology-enhanced learning. They are also taught in our skills lab, which is a simulated operating theatre where they learn rudimentary clinical skills in a safe environment.

Students have a range of assessments – written work in a variety of formats, essays, presentations, exams etc. They keep a reflective log of their time as a student and also have to pass assessments in practice.

Recruitment for this course considers not only the values of the specific profession you are wishing to join, but also the values of the wider NHS. You can expect to be shortlisted and interviewed based upon these values as well as course/profession specific requirements. More information on values can be found here.

Applicants for ODP need to demonstrate a basic understanding of the profession and explain why it is the right career choice for them. Offers of a place can only be made after a successful interview, and are subject to a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check as well as Occupational Health Clearance.

Fact file

UCAS code

  • B991


  • 3 years full-time

Entry requirements

  • A typical offer would be BBC at A2 Level, or equivalent
    GCSE English Language and Mathematics, at grade C or above, or equivalent.
    More entry requirement details.



More about



Connect with us