Operating Department Practice: My student story
Alumnus Ali Taherkhani describes the experience of studying Operating Department Practice, and life after university.
My name is Ali Taherkhani. I’m 36 years old, and I’m a qualified Operating Department Practitioner (ODP). I graduated from Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) in 2016.
I chose CCCU because I had high standards when I was looking for a degree course that suited my needs. I wanted a great location, and Medway’s unique scenery and history ticked that box for me; it’s a multicultural place, and I made friends from all over the world during my studies. Additionally, CCCU has a reputation for high quality and excellence in teaching. So, there was no doubt in my mind that CCCU was the university for me.
I chose CCCU because I had high standards when I was looking for a degree course that suited my needs.
I found the application process fairly challenging; it was my first time applying for higher education, and English is my second language. However, I received excellent support throughout the process, and it went smoothly in the end.
My first year of university was challenging. I was a mature student at university for the first time, studying in a language not my mother-tongue. I struggled at first with managing and meetings the required academic criteria, particularly with my writing. My lecturers were excellent, though – they provided me with great support throughout my time at university, and I graduated with a 2:1. I can never thank my lecturers enough for all their support and guidance during my studies.
I can never thank my lecturers enough for all their support and guidance during my studies.
My favourite part of studying ODP was the application of theory into practice where you apply taught lectures and seminars into practice. I loved learning about the fundamentals of human anatomy and physiology, anaesthesia, surgery and post-operative care. I was able to develop my skills and knowledge to the point where I can guide a safe and effective patient assessment, prepare patients for surgery and provide individual patient care throughout their perioperative journey.
50% of ODP is spent in clinical placement, divided across all phases of perioperative care: surgical, anaesthetic, post-operative care and accident and emergency. Whilst on placement under supervision of an experienced mentor you get the opportunity to practice your skills and apply theory into practice, develop and be equipped with the required knowledge for safe practice. The best part of being on placement as a student is that everyone has a part in teaching you from surgeons to anaesthetists and other staff. In CCCU you also learn about the role of first surgical assistant (SFA) which is becoming more recognised in nowadays contemporary healthcare. SFA stands you on a very high demands post qualifying and CCCU is one of the only universities that provides students with this.
The best part of being on placement as a student is that everyone has a part in teaching you from surgeons to anaesthetists and other staff.
Since qualifying I have had the opportunity to work in liver transplantation and organ retrieval in two of the biggest centres in south and north of England. I have also worked on an article which has been accepted for publication in due course in a credible nursing journal which I am proud of. I am now furthering my education at a Master’s degree level. The future is looking bright – I’ll continue to work in transplantation, and I hope to become a transplant and organ retrieval coordinator, once I have a few more years’ experience.
For me, graduation day started with a dream when I was sitting in an English class in college 5 years before the graduation ceremony, to go to university and study my favourite subject. I could have never imagined that one day I would be wearing an academic gown and hat. The graduation in the beautiful Rochester Cathedral was surreal and I still could not believe I done it even when they called my name in front of the crowd. It was a moment of achievement and getting rewarded for all my hard work. It was a day I will never forget.