Press Release

08 February 2012

The country's first three students to graduate with a degree in Operating Department Practice (ODP) received their honours from Canterbury Christ Church University at Rochester Cathedral this month.

The first three students to graduate in ODP celebrate at Rochester Cathedral (from left: Ilona Gray, Debbie Cay, Chelsea Woodward)
The first three students to graduate in ODP celebrate at Rochester Cathedral (from left: Ilona Gray, Debbie Cay, Chelsea Woodward)

Based at Christ Church’s Medway Campus, which houses state of the art facilities, including a simulated operating theatre and scrub room, the three year, full-time course is the first degree of its kind to be completed within the UK.

Alan Mount, Professional Lead and Senior Lecturer for Operating Department Practice at Canterbury Christ Church, said: “I’m delighted with the achievement of our three students, all of whom demonstrated a real determination and commitment to their studies over the past three years.

“It is particularly important to acknowledge that we have not only had the first degree students to graduate here at Christ Church, but also had the first student to receive first-class honours in Operating Department Practice.“

Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) are a vital part of the operating theatre team and are responsible for a patient’s wellbeing throughout an operation. Students learn through a variety of clinical placements within operating theatres, as well as attending lectures as part of the degree.

Graduates celebrate with lecturers from the ODP course.
Graduates celebrate with lecturers from the ODP course.

Debbie Cay, one of the three graduates receiving her honours at the ceremony, said: “My graduation day made me realise how proud I am of myself for fulfilling an ambition after experiencing first-hand the dedication of healthcare professionals for over 15 years whilst caring for my son.

“Although approaching my 40s, I believe that my life experience brought me a great deal of determination and commitment for learning and the wider University experience. Combined with support from my peers, tutors and my fantastic family, I have not only been able to graduate as one of the first students in country with a degree in ODP, but also secure a full time post in a dynamic theatre environment, which I absolutely love.”

Chelsea Woodward, another of the three graduates, said: “Despite coming to University straight from sixth form with no health care experience, the course has enabled me to become an all-round, competent theatre practitioner and a valued member of a theatre team.”

There is an Operating Department Practice open day on Thursday 16 February 2012 at the Canterbury Christ Church University Medway Campus, 30 Pembroke Court, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4UF.  For more information on the open day, visit:

For more information on the BSc (Honours) Operating Department Practice course, visit:


Notes to Editor

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students, and five campuses across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • We are the South East’s largest provider of courses for public service careers (outside of London).
  • 94% of our nursing students are employed in nursing roles six months after finishing their course.
  • Christ Church is the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2010 UCAS).
  • 2012 is the University’s Golden Jubilee, reflecting on 50 years of higher education and innovation.

*2009/10 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey


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Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:15:00