You are here:  Study here > Undergraduate > Courses

Operating Department Practice (ODP)

Picture of Operating Department Practitioner 

There is an annual intake each September at the Medway Campus.


Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) are a vital part of the multidisciplinary operating theatre team and are concerned with the maintenance and restoration of the physical and psychological status of the patient at all levels of dependency, through assessment, planning and delivery of individualised care. The increasing demands placed on Operating Department Practitioners mean that the practitioner is required to take responsibility for managing aspects of care in their own right. It is for this reason that the Operating Department Practitioner is able to demonstrate a level of knowledge commensurate with other professional practitioners in their area of practice.

The Bsc (Hons) in Operating Department Practice is a recognised academic and professional qualification that provides eligibility to apply for entry onto the Health & Care Professions Council register as an Operating Department Practitioner.

The BSc (Hons) in Operating Department Practice is a three year programme which requires the student to undertake clinical placements alongside the theoretical components of study. This programme is delivered as a Pathway within the Pre-registration Interprofessional Learning Programme and students will receive an Interprofessional learning approach throughout the programme. The taught component of the pathway is delivered at the Medway Campus, where there are state of the art teaching facilities for health professionals. These include a fully equipped simulated operating theatre and scrub room which enable students to integrate theory and clinical practice learning.


Practical learning is an essential component of the programme. Practice allocation is interspersed with theory input at the University in alternating blocks of study throughout the programme. Supervision of practice is managed by experienced qualified practitioners, who have undertaken appropriate preparation in teaching and assessing and supported by a “Link tutor” from the University.

The student Operating Department Practitioner undertakes a broad range of skills as part of the programme, which is not only based on practical ability but requires a wide variety of knowledge to underpin the acquired skills. As well as having the capability to work under pressure, the ODP is trained to be supportive to the most important person in theatres – the patient! The aim is to produce a competent practitioner who is able to function unsupervised as a member of the theatre team in caring for the patient through the anaesthetic, surgical and recovery phases of patient care. Incorporated in the programme from a practical sense, there may also be various allocations outside the theatre department to allow students to gain insights into the overall care of patients. Examples include:

  • Accident and Emergency Department
  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Surgical Wards

Content and Structure

YEAR 1 of the programme introduces the student to the developing role of the professional ODP encompassing the regulations for standards of practice and accountability within the profession. Students will be exposed to care in a variety of different contexts through practice placements and this will enable the development of core skills required for the operating theatre environment. The integration into the Pre-registration Interprofessional learning programme will foster an understanding of shared learning and the contribution of others to the healthcare needs of patients.

Year one is concerned primarily with the introduction of concepts and principles that underpin Operating Department Practice. Students will be introduced to biological, sociological, psychological and behavioural concepts that will facilitate the development and understanding of the specialist needs of a patient throughout the Perioperative experience.

YEAR 2 is designed to allow students to extend knowledge and practice skills by a wider participation in the Perioperative care of the patient. Four profession specific modules will encourage students to explore current issues relevant to their own discipline and also to collaborate from an Interprofessional perspective. This will enable students to develop both their academic and clinical skills from year one. This will consist of studies that develop the key concepts and themes introduced previously. Study at this level offers the opportunity for students to build upon knowledge acquired in year one, while continuing to gain new knowledge and understanding. An example of this development is in the “Pathophysiology” module which builds upon the “Human biology and health” module in year one.

YEAR 3 will be more integration of theory and practice, as practice placements will support the student’s participation in a more focused approach to the Perioperative care of the individual patient. There will be further emphasis on the three phases of care within the operating department in a variety of care contexts; undertaking advanced clinical skill and critical care, immediate post operative care of patients, assisting and acting as a scrubbed practitioner and developing professional leadership and management skills. This will integrate an enhanced knowledge and understanding of all the skills required to effectively manage patient care through the Operating Department and will include all patient groups and surgical specialties undertaken, both elective and non-elective.

Further information about options within degree programmes can be found here

Learning and Teaching

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.

Fees and Bursaries

This Interprofessional Learning Health and Social Care programme is not subject to the new higher education fee system.  

To find out about bursary entitlements for students studying Interprofessional Health and Social Care programmes visit our Financial Information page.

Employment Opportunities

Once students have successfully completed and met the requirements of the programme they would be eligible to apply for registration with the Health & Care Professions Council as an Operating Department Practitioner. Students will then be able to act as a competent practitioner in a wide range of Operating Department areas within health care settings.

Although the ODP is trained to work primarily within the Operating Department, ODPs can go on to differing roles as a result of the Degree programme, although additional education and training is required.

> Faculty of Health and Social Care

> Department of Allied Health Professions

> Further information on Operating Department Practice

About the course

BSc single honours


3 years full-time



Typical entry requirements

260 UCAS points including BCC at A2 Level, or equivalent (see here). Applicants will also need 5 GCSEs at Grade C, or above, including English and Maths.

Additional entry requirements 

Applicants are interviewed and offers of a place are subject to health clearance and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before starting the programme. For information about the DBS process please  see here.

How to apply


How will I be assessed?

Coursework, examination, continual assessment, presentations


Telephone: +44 (0)1227 767700 Prospectus: +44 (0)1227 782900
© 2012 Canterbury Christ Church University

Bookmark and Share
Comments about this page?